Sri Lanka’s PM Rajapaksa Resigns

Mahinda Rajapaksa (Photo: Buddhika Weerasinghe/Getty Images).
Mahinda Rajapaksa (Photo: Buddhika Weerasinghe/Getty Images).

Sri Lankan prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa who appointed in a controversial move has resigned on Saturday (15) giving country’s president Maithripala Sirisena a space to prevent an imminent government shutdown next year.

Amid the fears of government shutdown, Rajapaksa decided to step down and said in a statement that a change of government that the Sri Lankan citizens expected has been put off.

The island nation has been under a political turmoil for more than a month after Sirisena in a controversial move, removed former prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe from his post to appoint Rajapaksa as new prime minister of the country.

The appointment of Rajapaksa as the prime minister was opposed by majority of MPs as it is against Sri Lanka’s constitution. Rajapaksa who was then sacked by the parliament twice after his posting as prime minister but was reluctant to resign.

On Friday (14), Wickremesinghe’s office said that Sirisena had discussion with ousted prime minister over telephone to invite him to be sworn back into office on Sunday (16) reversing his previous statement that he would not appoint Wickremesinghe “even if he has the backing of all 225 lawmakers in parliament”.

“Since I have no intention of remaining as Prime Minister without a general election being held, and in order to not hamper the President in any way, I will resign from the position of Prime Minister and make way for the President to form a new govt,” Rajapaksa said in a tweet on Saturday.

Sri Lanka’s top court on Friday dismissed Rajapaksa’s attempt for an injunction on a local court order which stopped him and his cabinet from performing their roles in the government.

Earlier this week, Sri Lankan parliament passed a vote of confidence in favour of ousted Wickremesinghe, after it sought his reinstatement as prime minister by the president to end the political turmoil.