Speaker next in line for Presidency - Constitutional experts | Sunday Observer

Speaker next in line for Presidency - Constitutional experts

9 July, 2022

Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena is next in line for the Presidency if President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe resign from their posts.

Abeywardena will be executive President for 30 days until Parliament elects an MP for the remainder of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s tenure, Constitutional experts told the Sunday Observer yesterday.

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe had already expressed his willingness to resign from his office at yesterday’s political party heads’ meeting held under the patronage of Speaker Abeywardena. Sources close to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa told the Sunday Observer that the President had asked Premier Wickremesinghe to inform the party leaders’ meeting yesterday on what can and should be done with respect to the people’s call for a change.

The President is said to have told the Prime Minister that he will agree to what seems best for the country. However, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had not declared his resignation officially by the time this edition went to press. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has not made any public statements about the situation.

Wickremesinghe has agreed that an all-party interim government must be formed at any cost rather than descending into anarchy.

Hundreds of thousands of protesters from across the country surrounded the Presidential Secretariat and the President’s residence yesterday, ignoring all security barricades, a lack of fuel, transportation difficulties, and tear gas attacks by police and Security Forces, demanding that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe step down immediately.

During the event, at least 56 persons were hurt. Thirty of them were transported to Colombo General Hospital. Of them, the Hospital sources said that the condition of three is critical.  A number of people were observed manhandling former Minister and MP Rajitha Senaratne, who took part in the demonstration.

Meanwhile, the protestors surrounded Carlton residence in Tangalle, the private residence of the President’s brother, former Prime Minister and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Ven. Dr. Omalpe Sobhitha Thera said that the people across the country had negated the Presidency of Gotabaya Rajapaksa by means of the people’s sovereignty.

“The Speaker may summon a Parliament tomorrow and appoint a person with a character acceptable to all who may be from Parliament or from outside to run the office of the President,” he said and added that that person shall not be Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe even for a second as he has been rejected by the public at all elections.