ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s embattled president Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who has fled the country fearing for his life, has sent his resignation letter via email to Parliament Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, sources said on Thursday.
Rajapaksa, who fled the country and flew to Male in an Air Force flight on Wednesday early morning was expected to send the letter later on the same day. However, it was delayed as Rajapaksa, was not able to reach his “final destination”, his close allies have told Economy Next.
The letter was sent via email to the Speaker and an official who is aware of the matter said they are checking the legality of the latter and if such letter could be sent via email.
“The Speaker has received the resignation latter of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa via the office of Sri Lankan embassy in Singapore,” Speaker’s Media Secretary Indunil Abeywardena said in a tatement.
“After clarifying the accuracy and finalising the legality of the letter, the speaker will officially announce with regard t this by tomoorow.”
However, a government source said the original letter would be handed over to the Speaker through a key official of Rajapaksa’s staff, if required. It was not immediately clear if Rajapaksa had signed the letter in Singapore or before he fled the country.
Rajapaksa sent the letter after he reached Singapore late on Thursday from Maldives, flying in a Saudi Arabian Airline. His stay in Maldives was facilitated by the Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s administration in Maldives with its Parliament Speaker Mohamed Nasheed personally visiting to the Male airport to receive him amid many Sri Lankans living in Male protested against the move.
“President GR has resigned. I hope Sri Lanka can now move forward,” Nasheed tweeted.
“I believe the President would not have resigned if he were still in Sri Lanka, and fearful of losing his life. I commend the thoughtful actions of the Govt of Maldives. My best wishes to the people of Sri Lanka. ”
President GR has resigned. I hope Sri Lanka can now move forward. I believe the President would not have resigned if he were still in Sri Lanka, and fearful of losing his life. I commend the thoughtful actions of the Govt of Maldives. My best wishes to the people of Sri Lanka.
— Mohamed Nasheed (@MohamedNasheed) July 14, 2022
Rajapaksa was forced to flee after tens of thousands of protesters stormed into his official residence on Saturday (09). The protesters had demanded his resignation for his policy failures after his government printed trillions of rupees which eventually caused Balance of payment crisis, dollars shortage and steep decline in foreign currency reserves.
The lack of dollars later led to shortage of essentials like food, medicine, cooking gas, and essential foods including milk powder. His policy on overnight chemical fertilizer policy ban led to a food shortage and the island nation is facing a looming food shortage.
It was not immediately clear if Rajapaksa would request for political asylum in any foreign country. Singapore government confirmed his entry into city nation.
“In response to media queries, it is confirmed that Mr Rajapaksa has been allowed entry into Singapore on a private visit,” the Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.
“He has not asked for asylum and neither has he been granted any asylum. Singapore generally does not grant requests for asylum.”
Sources close to the president have said he was aiming for a country in the Middle East. (Colombo/July 14/2022)