Sri Lanka: Wickremesinghe to remain acting president, Rajapaksa brothers issued travel ban

Parliament to be summoned three days after receiving President Gotabaya's resignation

By Qadijah Irshad

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Published: Thu 14 Jul 2022, 5:06 PM

Sri Lankan acting president Ranil Wickremesinghe will stay in power as president longer than expected, much to the chagrin of hundreds of thousands of protesters who want him out.

On Thursday, the Sri Lankan Parliament Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena announced that the Parliament will only be summoned within three days after receiving the resignation letter from President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

This means the parliamentary session scheduled for Friday will not be convened.

President Rajapaksa who promised to resign on Wednesday, escaped in a military aircraft to Maldives, fearing reprisals after thousands of protesters stormed in and took over the presidential palace, and the presidential secretariat.

If the President had handed over his resignation as planned, the Parliament was scheduled to meet on Friday, receive nominations for a new interim president on July 19, and in the event more than one nomination is placed forward for the presidential candidate, voting would be done in a secret ballot next Thursday.

“Now, however, due to the delay in the President’s resignation, everything will be postponed,” a Parliamentarian told Khaleej Times.

Sources said that President Rajapaksa, who left to Singapore from the Maldives amidst growing protests in the Maldivian Republic, will head to a Middle East nation. Khaleej Times also learnt that Rajapaksa and his wife will be staying in a safe house in Singapore.

On Saturday, hundreds of thousands of protesters converged in capital Colombo, demanding the President, who they blame for the economic crisis of the nation, to step down from power. They also demanded Wickremesinghe, who remained prime minister until Wednesday, to quit. Sri Lankans accuse Wickremesinghe for protecting the Rajapaksas who are steeped in corruption and war crimes charges.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court issued a travel ban on two Rajapaksa brothers and others involved in corruption, fraud and embezzlement worth billions of dollars.

Mahinda Rajapaksa former president and older brother of the President Gotabaya, who was forced to step down as prime minister by a similar protest in May; and Basil Rajapaksa, the youngest of the Rajapaksa brothers, who also quit his post as Finance Minister following protests, pledged not to leave the country before the Supreme Court on Thursday.

Former Finance Secretary S.R. Attygalle, as well as the former Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal, accused of misappropriating state funds amounting to over $10 million under the Rajapaksa regime, were also issued travel bans.--

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