Sri Lanka’s President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, facing a historic economic crisis, has signed the resignation letter. Rajapaksa fled the country last week before protesters took over the island’s Rashtrapati Bhavan.
During this, the protesters had made it clear that the Rashtrapati Bhavan would not be vacated until President Gotabaya Rajapaksa resigned. Let us inform you that on Saturday, the protesters occupied the Rashtrapati Bhavan as a part of dramatic developments. Later the videos of this incident became globally viral on social media.
Initially, in these videos, a colossal crowd was shown moving towards Rashtrapati Bhavan. Later some protesters, carrying Sri Lankan flags and helmets, entered the President’s residence. Later videos showed protesters enjoying the building’s gym, swimming pool and bedrooms, which made headlines globally. Some reports claimed that the protesters had received lakhs of rupees from Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Earlier, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had officially informed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe that he would resign as announced earlier. The Prime Minister’s Office of the island country has confirmed this. Earlier, Parliament Speaker Mahina Yapa Abhayawardene had said President Rajapaksa had informed him that he would step down on Wednesday, July 13.
Opposition extended the name of Sajith Premadasa.
On Monday, Sri Lanka’s main opposition party, Samagi Jana Balvegaya (SJB), unanimously decided to forward Sajith Premadasa’s name as its presidential candidate to be elected on July 20. According to the new resolution, Premadasa should take over as the “caretaker” president after Sri Lankan leader Gotabaya Rajapaksa stepped down from the official post. The motion moved by SJB secretary Ranjit Madduma Bandara during the parliamentary committee meeting on Monday was supported by party president Field Marshal Sarath Fonseca, Newswire reported.
Currently, the SJB has over 50 seats in the Sri Lankan Parliament. At least 113 MPs are required to vote for the SJB’s proposal to win the parliament vote. Parliamentary voting will be held on July 14 after President Rajapaksa formally stepped down amid a political crisis triggered by the worst economic downturn in seven decades.
According to local reports, the Presidential Elections (Special Provisions) Act requires leaders to “act within a short period” to install a new president. Following Monday’s meeting, the Speaker of the Sri Lankan Parliament, Mahinda Yapa Abhayawardene, announced that Parliament would be convened on July 15 for the formal resignation of the President. After that, nominations will be filed on July 19, with the election of a new president on July 20, in compliance with existing legal provisions.
This kind of tension
Let us tell you that the protest against the demand for the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa started on April 9. Since then, it has continued 24/7 despite adverse weather and other shortcomings. People from all walks of life – doctors, lawyers and others – have since gathered in Galle Face to show their support for the protest.
Sri Lanka is facing its worst economic crisis since independence due to food and fuel shortages, rising prices and power cuts, affecting large numbers of people, resulting in massive efforts by the government to deal with the situation. There have been protests.
The slowdown is attributed to a lack of foreign exchange due to a decline in tourism during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as reckless economic policies, such as last year’s government move to make Sri Lanka’s agriculture “100 per cent organic” with chemical fertilizers. Had taken the step of banning it”.
Due to an acute shortage of foreign exchange, Sri Lanka recently defaulted around USD 51 billion in its entire external debt. The lack of oil supply has forced the closure of schools and government offices until further notice. The shortfall was fueled by the decline in domestic agricultural production, depletion of foreign exchange reserves and local currency depreciation. The economic crisis has pushed families into hunger and poverty. More than half a million people, the World Bank estimates, have fallen below the poverty line because of the pandemic.
Sri Lanka is one of the few countries designated by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to go without food this year due to an expected global food shortage. The development came after protesters barged into the official home of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and later the private residence of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and set it on fire on Saturday. President Rajapaksa and PM Wickremesinghe have announced to step down from their posts amid the ongoing protests.
India’s unwavering cooperation
Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar stated on Sunday night that Sri Lanka is facing a historic economic crisis, saying that the “Sri Lankan crisis is a serious matter. It has stood with the times. PM Modi’s policy is ‘neighbourhood first’. We are ours.” Let’s try and support our neighbours in such a way as to meet their needs.”
Ahead of the External Affairs Minister on Sunday night, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said that India stands with the people of Sri Lanka as they seek prosperity and progress through democratic means and a constitutional framework. According to news agency ANI, the External Affairs Minister’s spokesperson said, “We are closely monitoring the recent developments in Sri Lanka. India stands with the people of Sri Lanka.