Sri Lanka’s Parliament to elect a new President on July 20

Colombo, July 11 (IANS)
Sri Lanka, which is completely bankrupt and embroiled in a political crisis virtually with no leader, had decided to elect a new President from the Parliament on July 20.
Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena made the announcement after President Gotabaya Rajapaksa informed him officially that he would resign on July 13, as he promised earlier.
The Speaker had summoned more than 35 political party leaders from both government and the opposition to decide the next steps to appoint an all-party government. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was also at the meeting.
“It was decided to summon the Parliament on July 15 and announcement is to be made with regard to the vacancy for the post of Presidency that needs to be filled. On July 19, nominations would be called to appoint a new President through an election in the Parliament on July 20.
“According the Constitution when the post of President is vacated, Parliament should be summoned within three days and announcement should be made calling for nomination to appoint a new President. Thereafter, within two days, an election should be held,” main oppposition party Samagi Janawbalwegaya’s (United People Front) General Secretary Ranjith Maddumabandara said.
The cabinet ministers, who met Wickremesinghe on Saturday morning, announced that they had decided to hand over their responsibilities to an all-party government that is planned to be appointed.
Meanwhile, Central Bank Governor Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe has warned that ongoing political instability would worsen the current economic crisis, as it would delay talks for aid, reports said.
As the nation faced its worst-ever economic crisis, Sri Lankans had been demanding President Rajapaksa to resign from his position since March 31, the day they surrounded his private residence. Later the anti-Rajapaksa protesters reached Colombo on April 2 and occupied the entrance to President’s Office and continued to protest until they took over official residence of the President and the Prime Minister on Saturday, amid violence with police and military fired teargas and live bullets on Saturday.
Over 100 protesters and police personnel have been injured with one in critical condition.

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