Sri Lankan Prime Minister inaugurated as interim president


Colombo, Sri Lanka-Until the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka swore on Friday as interim president and the parliament elected a successor to Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who fled abroad and resigned after a major protest against the country’s economic collapse.

Parliamentarians were convened on Saturday to select a new leader for the rest of Rajapaksa’s term ending in 2024.

Subtle calm was restored in the Colombo capital on Thursday after the withdrawal of protesters occupying government buildings, but the severe collapse of political opposition has left a solution to many of Sri Lanka’s problems not approaching. It was like.

As people celebrate on the streets, Parliamentary Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywaldana promised a swift and transparent political process to take place within a week.

The new president can appoint a new prime minister, who must be approved by parliament. After Rajapaksa’s resignation, there was increasing pressure on Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

In a statement televised, Wickremesinghe changed the constitution to curb the president’s powers, strengthen parliament, restore law and order, and take legal action against “rebels.” He said he would start taking steps to do so.

He said true protesters were not involved in a clash near Congress on Wednesday night, when many soldiers were reportedly injured, but it was unclear who he was referring to.

“There is a big difference between protesters and rebels. We will take legal action against armed groups,” he said.

After Rajapaksa fled Sri Lanka on Wednesday, first flying to the Maldives and then to Singapore, Wickremesinghe took office as acting president. The Prime Minister’s Office said Wickremesinghe was sworn in as interim president by Judge Jaiyan Sajayasurya on Friday.

Sri Lanka lacks the funds to pay for the import of basic necessities such as food, fertilizers, medicines and fuels for 22 million people. Prior to this crisis, the economy was growing and growing with the comfortable middle class, so its rapid economic decline was even more shocking.

Protests highlighted the dramatic collapse of Rajapaksa’s political clan, which has ruled Sri Lanka for most of the last two decades.

Sri Lankan protest
Sri Lankan protesters attacked Prime Minister Rajapla Machinha’s office on July 13, 2022, after President Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled the country during the economic crisis in Colombo, Sri Lanka. .. (ErangaJayawardena / AP Photo)

Rev. Jiwansa Peiris, a Catholic priest and protest leader, said the country “had a difficult journey.”

“We are pleased with the joint effort as all Sri Lankan citizens and even the Sri Lankan diaspora participated in this Sri Lankan struggle,” he said.

After Rajapaksa resigned, protesters cooked and distributed milk rice, a food that Sri Lankans enjoy to celebrate their victory. At a major protest site in front of Colombo’s presidential palace, people welcomed his resignation, but Wickremesinghe also insisted that he should leave.

“I’m delighted that Gotabaya has finally left. Verayusan Pillai, 73, a retired bank clerk, said a patriotic song rang from the speakers.

“Ranil is a supporter of Gotabaya and other Rajapaxus. He was helping them. He must go,” he added.

Sri Lanka is still a powder barrel and its economy is in ruins. And on Thursday, the military warned that it had the power to respond in the event of a turmoil. This was an ominous message.

Speaker Abeywardana told the public to “implement a proper parliamentary democracy process and create a peaceful atmosphere so that all members of parliament can attend the meeting and function freely and honestly.” Prompted.

Sri Lanka is seeking help from the International Monetary Fund and other creditors, but its finances have proved to be very poor and even difficult to get relief, Wickremesinghe recently said.

Protesters have accused Rajapaksa and his powerful politicians of sucking money from the government’s financial resources and accelerating the collapse of the country by mismanaging the economy. The family denied allegations of corruption, but Rajapaksa admitted that some of his policies contributed to the collapse of Sri Lanka.

College student and protester Maduka Iroshan, 26, said she was “excited” to quit Rajapaksa because she “ruined the dreams of the younger generation.”

Months of protests peaked enthusiastically last weekend when demonstrators attacked the president’s home and office, as well as Wickremesinghe’s official residence. On Wednesday, they confiscated his office.

Images of protesters in the building, relaxing on elegant sofas and beds, posing at official desks, and observing the luxurious environment, have caught the world’s attention.

Anti-government protesters at the Sri Lankan presidential residence.
Protesters will swim in the pool after plunging into the pool of the Sri Lankan Presidential Residence in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on July 9, 2022. (AP photo)

Demonstrators initially vowed to stay until the new government was inaugurated, but changed tactics on Thursday and intensified post-parliamentary violence that left dozens of injured could undermine their message. I was clearly concerned that there was sex.

Protesters Mirac Raheem said their work was not finished yet, but the lack of violence was important.

“This is really amazing, it’s the fact that it happened mostly behind peaceful protests,” Raheem said. “But obviously this is just the beginning. There is a longer way to go, not only to rebuild the economy, but also to build public confidence in this political system.”

Rajapaksa and his wife slipped down at night on a military plane early Wednesday. According to the city-state Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he went to Singapore on Thursday. He said he wasn’t asking for asylum and it was unclear if he would stay or move on. He previously received medical services there, including undergoing heart surgery.

Since the Sri Lankan president is protected from arrest while in power, Rajapaksa seems to have wanted to leave while still having constitutional immunity and access to the plane.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa, a military strategist whose brutal operations helped end the country’s 26-year civil war, and his then-presidential brothers were welcomed by a majority of Buddhist Sinhalese Buddhists on the island. Despite accusations of wartime atrocity, such as orders for military attacks on Tamil civilians and the kidnapping of journalists, Rajapaksa continued to be popular among many Sri Lankans. He constantly denies his claim.

Krutika Pathi, Krishan Fancis, Bharatha Mallawarachi

Associated Press