The Supreme Court of Sri Lanka on Friday barred former prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and former finance minister Basil Rajapaksa — from leaving the country.
This development came after former president Gotabaya Rajapaksa left the country this week, first for the Maldives, onwards to Singapore, reports NDTV.
Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned as PM only two months ago, after his supporters attacked some people protesting outside his brother, the then-President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's office. The protests became more intense after that, and finally Gotabaya Rajapaksa had to leave the country and resign. His departure came after months of protests over mismanagement of the island nation's economy, leading to severe hardships for its 2.2 crore people.
"Gotabaya has legally resigned" with effect from yesterday, Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardana told reporters today.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has been sworn in as acting president. Parliament will elect a new President on Wednesday, July 20, an official said.
Protesters also today handed back the Presidential Palace, which they'd overrun last Saturday, to the government. A forensic team immediately came in and started collecting fingerprints, besides assessing the degree of the damage.
Addressing Parliament after he was sworn in as acting president, PM Wickremesinghe pledged to "strictly maintain law and order", and also to revive a key constitutional amendment, which had cut down on presidential powers and empowered the parliament.
The 19th amendment — adopted in 2015, with Mr Wickremesinghe as main mover — was scrapped after Gotabaya Rajapaksa won the November 2019 presidential election.
The PM-cum-acting president said that the armed forces have been given the powers and the freedom to deal with any acts of violence and sabotage. "I am one hundred per cent supportive of peaceful demonstrations. There is a difference between rioters and protesters."
Parliamentarians expected to vote in election of the next President will be given full protection to attend Parliament, he said.