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As it happened: Sajith Premadasa announces he will contest for the presidential post

New DelhiUpdated: Jul 16, 2022, 06:36 AM IST
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Sri Lanka's main opposition leader Sajith Premadasa (C) waves to supporters during a protest against rising living costs, at the entrance of the president's office in Colombo Photograph:(AFP)

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After weeks of agitation, the Sri Lankan protesters finally got what they wanted—the resignation of embattled president Gotabaya Rajapaksa. According to AFP news agency, the parliamentary speaker's office said Rajapaksa had emailed his resignation and it would be examined before a formal announcement -- expected on Friday -- is made. 

Gotabaya submitted his resignation late Thursday after arriving in Singapore from the Maldives, where he initially fled after demonstrators ransacked his palace at the weekend. 


16 Jul 2022, 6:36 (IST)

Gravitas: Gotabaya Rajapaksa resigns as Sri Lanka's President

Gotabaya Rajapaksa has resigned as Sri Lanka's President. The protests have turned into celebrations. But, will they be be short-lived? Ranil Wickremesinghe has taken over as acting-President for 5 days. A new President will be appointed on July 20. Will the new leader be accepted? 


16 Jul 2022, 3:35 (IST)

Sri Lanka’s opposition leader, who is seeking the presidency next week, vowed to “listen to the people” who are struggling through the island nation’s worst economic crisis and to hold accountable the president who fled under pressure from protesters. 

15 Jul 2022, 11:14 PM (IST)


15 Jul 2022, 10:58 PM (IST)

It's in China's interest to restructure Sri Lanka's debt: Yellen

Amid the ongoing financial crisis in island nation, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has said that China is a "very important" creditor of Sri Lanka and it would likely be in the interest of both countries if Beijing participated in restructuring Colombo`s debt.

During a press conference on the sidelines of a meeting of G20 finance officials on the Indonesian island of Bali, Yellen said that she would urge other members of the Group of 20 major economies to put pressure on China to be more cooperative in long-stalled efforts to restructure the debts of countries in debt distress, including Sri Lanka.

"China is, of course, a very important creditor of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is clearly unable to repay that debt. And it`s my hope that China will be willing to work with Sri Lanka to restructure the debt -- it would likely be both in China and Sri Lanka`s interest," the US Treasury Secretary said.

15 Jul 2022, 9:22 PM (IST)

Acting Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe on Friday visited two injured soldiers being treated at the Army Hospital, Prime Minister`s media division said.

The soldiers got injured in clashes amid protestors` uprising in the island nation. 

15 Jul 2022, 8:17 PM (IST)

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday said that India is trying to help its neighbour Sri Lanka in its time of crisis as much as possible.Addressing the launch of the second P17A stealth frigate `Dunagiri` in Kolkata, the Defence Minister said that India has maintained warm and strong relations with all neighbouring countries.

"India wants friendly relations with all its neighbouring countries. For this, India keeps making constant efforts. Be it Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Maldives or Bangladesh, we have maintained our warm and strong relations with all. We all are aware of the difficult circumstances Sri Lanka is going through today. Although India has also been affected due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Ukrainian conflict, we are trying to help our friend Sri Lanka as much as possible," said Singh.

15 Jul 2022, 7:04 PM (IST)

The US is committed to the democratic aspirations of the Sri Lankan people, the US envoy here said on Friday, urging all parties to work together to ensure the rule of law is upheld.

The US Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Julie Chung, said that following Gotabaya Rajapaksa's resignation all the parties should join hands to find solutions to the economic crisis.



15 Jul 2022, 7:03 PM (IST)

For the first time since 1978, Sri Lanka will elect the crisis-hit country's next president through a secret vote by the MPs and not through a popular mandate, following the resignation of Gotabaya Rajapaksa who was ousted by a popular uprising against him.

The 225-member Parliament will elect the new president by a secret vote on July 20, Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena said on Friday.

Never in the history of the presidency since 1978 that Parliament had voted to elect a president. Presidential elections in 1982, 1988, 1994, 1999, 2005, 2010, 2015 and 2019 had elected them by popular vote.

15 Jul 2022, 6:33 PM (IST)

The ruling party of crisis-hit Sri Lanka on Friday lauded former president Gotabaya Rajapaksa for the services he rendered to the nation and highlighted his decisive role in bringing peace to the motherland by ending 30 years of terrible terrorism.

In a statement on the resignation of Rajapaksa, who resigned hours after landing in Singapore on a "private visit", Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) said that political leaders in the world of politics mostly attempted to take political power, and relinquishing power and positions was a very rare sight in the world of politics.

The 73-year-old former president resigned two days after the embattled leader fled the country in the face of massive protests against his government for mishandling the economy that bankrupted the country.

15 Jul 2022, 6:10 PM (IST)

Sri Lanka's ruling SLPP party on Friday decided to back interim president Ranil Wickremesinghe in the parliamentary vote to be held next week to elect the successor to Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who resigned after unprecedented protests against his government.

Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) General Secretary Sagara Kariyawasam said that their support would be extended to Prime Minister Wickremesinghe, who was on Friday sworn in as the interim president until Parliament elects a successor to Rajapaksa.

The party decided to support 73-year-old Wickremesinghe, who was once its arch rival, despite the SLPP breakaway Dullas Alahapperuma declaring his candidacy. The former information minister became the first to announce candidature at the vote which is to take place on July 20.

15 Jul 2022, 5:36 PM (IST)

Ranil Wickremesinghe, who was sworn in as acting president of Sri Lanka, on Friday assured that he would reintroduce the 19th Amendment to the Constitution to clip extraordinary powers of future Presidents.

Wickremesinghe, who was the Prime Minister, was appointed as acting President as Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who fled the country amidst public protests, announced his resignation on Thursday.

"I have banned calling the President Excellency," Wickremesinghe said in a televised statement.

He also warned the protesters not to resort to violence as military had been empowered to take action.

"I will take immediate steps to restore law and order in the country. I accept 100 per cent the right to peaceful protest. But some people are trying to carry out disruptions. Some others are planning to influence MPs before the election of a new President next week. We will prepare the environment for MPs to exercise their rights independently. They will be given protection. We will not at any point allow any party to sabotage democracy. There are fascist elements who are trying to set the country alight," he said.

"There is a big difference between revolutionaries and protesters. Legal action will be taken against those elements. Many people who have been participating in this struggle from the beginning have expressed opposition to the elements. We are committed to preserve law and order along with them, and we are bound the protect democracy.

"I am committed to protect the Constitution. I will never allow any unconstitutional action, or give such orders. I will never work against the Constitution. If law and order collapses, it will hurt our economy. The supply of fuel, oil, water supply and food can collapse," Wickremesinghe stated.

15 Jul 2022, 4:50 PM (IST)

IMF wants stability in Sri Lanka to resume talks on bailout deal

The IMF on Friday said that it is deeply concerned about the current crisis in Sri Lanka and hopes for a resolution of the current situation to resume talks as soon as possible on a bailout package for the island nation.

Sri Lanka is going through a deepening political and economic crisis. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has resigned, and Parliament Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardenaon officially announced on Friday, after a week of dramatic developments and massive protests against the government for mishandling the economy that has bankrupted the country.

15 Jul 2022, 4:49 PM (IST)

Sri Lanka's spiralling economic crisis dents its lucrative tourism industry

Sri Lanka, a popular destination for holidaymakers, should be teeming with tourists at this time of year. Instead, an unprecedented economic crisis and political turmoil have all but wreaked its tourism with about 40 per cent of the pre-bookings being cancelled recently.

Tourism accounts for about 5 per cent of Sri Lanka's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), with Britain, India and China being the main markets. Sri Lanka is facing its worst foreign exchange crisis after the COVID-19 pandemic hit the island nation's earnings from tourism and remittances.

According to the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA), the number of tourist arrivals decreased by 60 per cent in June. Director General of SLTDA Dhammika Wijesinghe said the situation had arisen due to the unprecedented economic crisis.

As per SLTDA data, 106,500 tourists arrived in March 2022, but the number dwindled to 32,856 in June.

15 Jul 2022, 3:54 PM (IST)

Sri Lankan protesters welcome Rajapaksa resignation

Protesters outside the Sri Lankan presidential office in Colombo welcomed the confirmation on Friday that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has resigned.

The speaker of Sri Lanka's Parliament said Rajapaksa had stepped down by email after massive protests over an economic collapse which forced him from office and saw him choose to flee the country. Protest leader Jeewantha Peiris praised the "collective effort" of demonstrators which had brought together "all walks of people".

15 Jul 2022, 3:52 PM (IST)

Sri Lanka acting pres says will stick to constitutional process, establish law and order

Sri Lanka's newly appointed acting President Ranil Wickremesinghe said on Friday (July 15) that he would follow constitutional process and establish law and order in the country.

Wickremesinghe, who was appointed acting President after Gotabaya Rajapaksa resigned from his post on Thursday (July 14), asked lawmakers to work towards a consensus to establish an all-party government in the crisis-ridden country.

15 Jul 2022, 1:49 PM (IST)

The 73-year-old leader will act as the acting president until a new president is elected by the parliament. Sri Lanka's Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena has said that the new president will be elected in the next seven days after parliament convenes on July 20

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15 Jul 2022, 12:41 PM (IST)

Sri Lanka PM Ranil Wickremesinghe Appointed Acting President, Says SpeakerRanil Wickremesinghe sworn in as Sri Lanka's acting president: office

15 Jul 2022, 12:32 PM (IST)

The Speaker has informed the party leaders that the nominations for the presidency will be accepted on July 19 as announced earlier. Voting to be held on July 20

15 Jul 2022, 9:32 (IST)

Until new candidate is elected, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe will serve as the Acting President

15 Jul 2022, 9:31 (IST)

Sri Lanka president's resignation accepted, says the parliamentary speaker. Resignation came into effect on July 14, 2022 

15 Jul 2022, 9:09 (IST)

Now that Gotabaya has resigned, the speaker of Sri Lanka's parliament will call the assembly to order, and its 225 members will vote to choose a new president, most likely the following week. 

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15 Jul 2022, 8:57 (IST)

News that Rajapaksa submitted a letter of resignation on Thursday led to jubilation in the commercial capital Colombo where protesters massed outside the presidential secretariat.

Crowds set off firecrackers, shouted slogans and danced ecstatically at the Gota Go Gama protest site, named mockingly after Rajapaksa's first name.

15 Jul 2022, 8:56 (IST)

The IMF hopes unrest in Sri Lanka will be resolved soon so that aid talks that were interrupted can resume, a fund spokesman said Thursday.

"We are, of course, deeply concerned about the ongoing crisis of impact on the Sri Lankan people and particularly the poor and the vulnerable groups," IMF spokesman Gerry Rice told reporters.

15 Jul 2022, 8:55 (IST)

Sri Lankans waited Friday for a formal announcement confirming their president had resigned after he fled to Singapore to escape anti-government protests triggered by his country's dire economic crisis.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa submitted his resignation late Thursday after arriving in Singapore from the Maldives, where he initially escaped after demonstrators overran his palace at the weekend.