Sri Lanka crisis: Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardana may be acting President
| Published: Monday, July 11, 2022, 13:41 [IST]
Colombo, July 11: Sri Lankan Parliament Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardana is likely to be appointed as the country's acting President after Gotabaya Rajapaksa demits office on July 13 making way for an all-party government amid intensified protest in the island nation.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa officially informed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Monday that he will resign as previously announced on Wednesday after protesters stormed his official residence, calling for him to step down over his handling of the country's dire economic crisis.
Prime Minister Wickremesinghe also said he was willing to resign and make way for an all-party government to take over. Protesters breached his private residence and set it on fire, according to his office.
Under the Sri Lankan Constitution, if both president and prime minister resign, the speaker of parliament will serve as acting president for a maximum of 30 days.
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Meanwhile, parliament will elect a new president within 30 days from one of its members, who will hold the office for the remaining two years of the current term.
The cash-starved island nation witnessed a tumultuous day on Saturday when protesters broke into Rajapaksa's official residence in Colombo. The protesters were seen in the bedrooms and splashing around in the swimming pool of the President's House.
Opposition parties on Sunday held talks and decided to form an all-party interim government after President Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe agreed to resign.
A special meeting of the Committee on Parliamentary Affairs is scheduled to be held on today at 2.00 pm (local time) under the chairmanship of Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena to discuss the future political affairs of the country, the Colombo Page reported.
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The appointment of a new president after Rajapaksa leaves the presidency and the formation of a new government will be discussed at the meeting, the report said.
Sri Lanka, a country of 22 million people, is under the grip of an unprecedented economic turmoil, the worst in seven decades, leaving millions struggling to buy food, medicine, fuel and other essentials.
Story first published: Monday, July 11, 2022, 13:41 [IST]