President Gotabaya Rajapaksa declared he will step down on 13 July following months of anti-Government protests across the nation in the wake of the economic crisis.
The announcement was made by Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, just hours after protesters, demanding the President and his Government to resign, stormed into the President’s House in Colombo Fort on 9 July.
The Speaker said, in a video statement, the President agreed to implement the decisions taken at the meeting of political party leaders, and that the party leaders had decided that the President and Prime Minister must resign immediately.
The President has informed the Speaker that he will step down on 13 July to allow for a peaceful transition of power. Speaker Abeywardena urged the public to remain calm and advised public servants to ensure the smooth functioning of daily life.
Meanwhile, the Speaker officially informed President Gotabaya Rajapaksa of the party leaders’ meeting decisions on 9 July in writing.
On 9 July, the Speaker presided over an emergency meeting of party leaders at his official residence.
In a letter to the President, the Speaker informed him of the decisions taken by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and other political party leaders and they are that the President and Prime Minister should step down from their respective positions without delay.
They also urged convening Parliament within seven days to appoint an acting President, forming an interim Government and appointing a new Prime Minister with the consensus of all-party representatives, and holding elections in due time to allow the people to elect new public representatives.
Meanwhile, PM Wickremesinghe proposed three alternatives, including the President resigning and the Prime Minister serving as acting President.
He said that he agrees to form a new interim government led by the Prime Minister, with both the President and Prime Minister vacating their portfolios and appointing a parliamentary representative as acting President and a new Prime Minister, resulting in the formation of a new interim government with all-party support.
Meanwhile, MP Rauff Hakeem stated, on his official Twitter handle, that political party leaders have decided to request that both President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe resign and that the Speaker of Parliament act as acting President for a short time in accordance with the Constitution.
The Speaker presided over an emergency meeting of political party leaders on 9 July at around 4 p.m. at the Speaker’s Residence.
PM Wickremesinghe, according to Hakeem, has not agreed to resign.
According to the tweet, several political party leaders, including Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake, and MP M.A. Sumanthiran, attended the meeting virtually.
A group of SLPP parliamentarians have sent a letter to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa urging him to step down from his position.
The letter was signed by 16 MPs including Dullas Alahapperuma, Prof. Channa Jayasumana, Dr. Nalaka Godahewa, Prof. Charitha Herath, Wasantha Yapa Bandara and Dilan Perera.
The MPs said they are of the view that Parliament should be convened immediately and an all-party Government should be formed under the Prime Minister for a certain period of time to restore stability in the country.