Speaker to take over as SL Prez until all-party govt is formed

To end the current political crisis in Sri Lanka based on the decision taken by the leaders of the majority parties, the Speaker of the Parliament is set to ask President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to step down from their posts to make way for an all-party government.

The party leaders who met on Saturday evening decided to appoint Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena as the temporary President until an all-party government is formed.

However, Wickremesinghe has not agreed to step down immediately, as he told the media that he would resign once the all-party government is formed and majority in the Parliament is proved by any group which wants to take over.

Wickremesinghe said he took this decision in view of the fact that the island-wide fuel distribution is due to recommence, the World Food Programme Director is due to visit the country this week, and the debt sustainability report for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is due to be finalised shortly.

President Rajapaksa, who didn’t make a public appearance since Friday night’s announcement urging people to stay calm, has not officially responded so far.

Earlier, he had informed through Wickremesinghe that he would agree to whatever decision is taken by the party leaders.

Earlier on Saturday, thousands of protesters marched to Colombo and took control of the President’s official residence, his office premises and the official residence of the Prime Minister, the Temple Trees.

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