We haven't received President Rajapaksa's resignation yet, says Sri Lankan Parliament Speaker
| Published: Wednesday, July 13, 2022, 11:48 [IST]
Colombo, July 13: Sri Lankan Parliament Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena on Wednesday said that he has not received the resignation letter of embattled President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who fled his country to the Maldives.
Speaking to news agency ANI, he said, "We haven't received President Gotabaya's resignation yet, but we hope to get one in a day."
As per the earlier reports, Rajapaksa had signed his resignation dated July 11 and the letter will be submitted to the Speaker on Wednesday.
In a brief statement, the Sri Lankan Air Force said that under the Constitution granted to an Executive President, Rajapaksa was flown to the Maldives onboard an Air Force plane early Wednesday morning.
Sri Lanka crisis: President Gotabaya Rajapaksa flees to Maldives
"Sri Lankan President, the first lady along with two bodyguards were subjected to full approval by Ministry of Defense for immigration, customs and other laws to fly to the Maldives. Air Force aircraft was provided to them in the early morning of July 13," Sri Lankan Air Force Media Director said in a statement.
He took off from the country for the Maldives on an Antonov-32 military aircraft with his wife and a bodyguard who were among four passengers on board, the media reports stated citing immigration sources.
President Rajapaksa's escape from Colombo was negotiated by Majlis (Parliament) Speaker Nasheed, sources in the Maldives capital Male informed PTI. The Maldivian government's argument is that Rajapaksa is still the President of Sri Lanka, and that he hasn't resigned or handed over his powers to a successor. Therefore, if he wanted to travel to the Maldives, it could not have been denied, the sources added.
He is expected to be in the Maldives on transit before flying to another destination which is yet to be known. Rajapaksa is likely to send his resignation letter only after reaching his final destination on Wednesday evening, Sri Lanka's The Morning news portal reported, citing highly placed government sources. It is learnt that the Rajapaksa's resignation letter would be sent to Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena at around 8 pm Sri Lanka time, it added.
Explained: How will Sri Lanka appoint a new President if Gotabaya Rajapaksa resigns
On Saturday, Rajapaksa announced that he will step down on Wednesday after thousands of protesters stormed his official residence, blaming him for the unprecedented economic crisis that has brought the country to its knees.
Sri Lanka 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: Wednesday, July 13, 2022, 11:48 [IST]