Setting a bad precedent in the history of the Sri Lankan presidency, ousted President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has fled from what was once a strong citadel for the Rajapaksa clan. In the midst of an awful and unprecedented economical crisis, which later turned into a political catastrophe, the ruling Rajapaksa clan, which was the most influential and powerful family in the country, has now completely been wiped off from the rule.
The nationwide protests have been escalating even as the Sri Lankans endure a distressing run for their lives with growing inflation and uncertainty. Recently, the protesters stormed the Presidential palace, which made Gotabaya Rajapaksa flee the palace. Later, amid the demand to resign from the post, Gotabaya has planned to leave the country with his family before his beleaguered politics gets into more trouble. He said that he will relinquish the office of the Presidency on Wednesday - July 13.
However, the reports have said that Gotabaya Rajapaksa has already left the country and has found a new haven thousands of miles away. On questions and speculations over where he left, it has now come to the revelation that Gotabaya Rajapaksa has fled to the Maldives on Wednesday, just hours before he was supposed to step down from his post as the sequel to the incessant agitations. The revelation has also suggested that his brother Mahinda Rajapaksa could also be staying in the archipelago.
According to PTI, Gotabaya Rajapaksa has fled to the Maldives on a military jet and he was received by a representative of the Maldivian government at the Velana airport. While several reports have confirmed that Gotabaya has reached the island nation after fleeing his own island nation, there was no official confirmation from Sri Lanka over his departure. Quoting the sources, BBC has said that along with Gotabaya, his younger brother Basil Rajapaksa has also left the country.
But unlike Gotabaya, Basil is said to have fled to the United States as he is a US passport holder. While Basil has resigned from the post of Sri Lanka's Finance Minister in April, Mahinda has quit as the Prime Minister in May and now, Gotabaya has announced to step down from the post of the President. Gotabaya Rajapaksa has informed both Speaker of Parliament Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe that he will resign on July 13, after his official residence was sieged by the protesters.
Following the resignation of Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe has also announced he will step down owing to the political backlash. Under the Sri Lankan Constitution, if both the President and the Prime Minister resign, the Speaker of Parliament will serve as acting president for a maximum of 30 days. The parliament will then be electing a new president. However, the opposition parties have held discussions to nominate a president, who will be taking charge within the next week.
Earlier this week, a meeting was held between the main opposition party Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) and former president Maithripala Sirisena's Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP). The political parties have decided to form an all-party government and elect a new president on July 20 to prevent the country from falling further into anarchy. With protesters occupying the Presidential palace, the whole world has been watching the grim developments in Sri Lanka.
It has been reported that Sri Lanka's Opposition leader Sajith Premadasa will be elected as the interim President. Earlier this Monday, Premadasa said that his party was ready to lead the country at the presidential and prime ministerial levels and develop the economy. Premadasa is leading the race and he told the BBC that his party and allies agreed he should be putting his nomination for the position of the presidency after Gotabaya Rajapaksa resigns.
It is most likely that Premadasa will be appointed as the President on July 20 and for him, leading the nation has become a Himalayan task as he has to restore the trust of the people in fixing the damages caused by the Rajapaksa clan. Premadasa has lost the presidential election in 2019 after which he has become the Opposition leader. Recently, Premadasa in a statement to the media said that the opposition is ready to lead the program of stabilizing the country and building the economy.