Samagi Jana Balawegaya leader Sajith Premadasa to contest for the post of President; MP’s will vote to elect a new President by secret ballot on 20 July if no consensus is reached on a single candidate to take over the Presidency after the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

By Chandani Kirinde

Parliamentarians will vote to elect a new President by secret ballot on 20 July if no consensus is reached on a single candidate to take over the Presidency after the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Party leaders who met yesterday agreed to call for nominations for the post of President on 19 July and take a vote the following day.

Parliament will convene on Friday where an announcement will be made that there is a vacancy for the Presidency in keeping with the provisions of the Constitution and the Presidential Elections (Special Provisions) Act No. 2 of 1981.

It will be the second time since the introduction of the Executive Presidency in 1978 that Parliament will be tasked with electing a President.

D.B. Wijetunga who was appointed acting President after the assassination of Ranasinghe Premadasa in 1993 was subsequently confirmed by Parliament without vote as all parties agreed on his candidature.

The Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) decided yesterday that it would put forward its leader Sajith Premadasa to contest for the post of President. Party secretary Ranjith Madduma Bandara submitted the proposal and it was seconded by party chairman Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka.

A group with the ruling SLPP are discussing MP Dulles Alahapperuma as a likely contestant.

Leader of the 43 Brigade MP Champika Ranawaka who met with JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake yesterday too had discussed a possible run by either of them for the post of President.

Meanwhile Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe yesterday confirmed that President Rajapaksa would resign tomorrow. He is required to do so by addressing his letter of resignation to the Speaker.

At the party leader meeting yesterday, several MPs had asked Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena about the whereabouts of the President. They were told he is in a safe location and would send his resignation letter on Wednesday.

Yesterday’s discussions also focused on the setting up of an All-Party interim Government without delay as essential services in the country can be carried out unimpeded and necessary policy decisions taken promptly.

Courtesy:Daily FT