By Chandani Kirinde
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was sworn in as the Acting President before Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya yesterday shortly after the official announcement of the resignation of incumbent Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
The six-times Premier Wickremesinghe will function in his interim post till 20 July when MPs will vote to elect a successor to Rajapaksa to serve remainder of the latter’s term.
Parliament will meet today when the Secretary General of Parliament Dhammika Dassanayake will announce to the House that there is a vacancy in the office of President and nomination will be accepted on 19 July following which a vote by secret ballot will be taken on 20 July. Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena last morning formally announced that he had received the letter of resignation from Rajapaksa and explained the process which will be followed to elect a new President.
“I have received the letter of resignation sent by His Excellency the President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in terms of Article 38.1 (b) of the Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. Accordingly, the President has officially resigned from his position on July 14th, 2022,” he said.
He announced that this sets in motion the constitutional process of electing a new president and in the interim period the Prime Minister will act in accordance with the Constitution to exercise and perform the powers, functions and duties of the President until the completion of the said process.
He said that the election of the new President will be carried out in accordance with the Presidential Elections (Special Provisions) Act No. 2 of 1981 in accordance with Article 40 of the Constitution.
“It is my intention to successfully complete this process as soon as possible. As our nation is known for its pride of being the oldest democratic country in South Asia, the execution of this process within a maximum democratic framework and transparency will be an important historical event not only in our country but also in the political history of the world,” Abeywardena said.
He requested all party leaders, Government officials and security personnel to extend their maximum support towards this process of democratic action and in particular, the respected and beloved public of our country to create a suitable and peaceful atmosphere for all the members representing the Parliament to freely act according to their conscience and participate in the meetings in order to implement the proper democratic parliamentary system.