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1-min read

Mahinda Rajapaksa Will Step Down as Sri Lanka's PM to 'Ensure Stability of the Nation', Says Son

Rajapaksa had called for a snap parliamentary election to allow people to vote for a new plan to overcome the country’s looming economic and political crisis.

Aishwarya Kumar | News18.com@aishwaryak03

Updated:December 14, 2018, 11:58 PM IST
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Mahinda Rajapaksa Will Step Down as Sri Lanka's PM to 'Ensure Stability of the Nation', Says Son
File photo of Mahinda Rajapaksa. (Image: Reuters)
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New Delhi: In a major development in the ongoing Sri Lankan political power tussle, Mahinda Rajapaksa has decided to step down from the position of the Prime Minister. The prime ministerial post has been in the middle of a major political slugfest in Colombo.

Rajapaksa's son Namal took to Twitter to announce his father's decision to “ensure stability of the nation.” “The SLPP with Frm President, SLFP & others will now work to form a broader political coalition with President Sirisena,” he said.

Ousted PM Ranil Wickremesinghe will be sworn in as the Prime Minister on Sunday.

Sources told News18 that a meeting of parliamentary group was held on Thursday with President Maithripala Sirisena and Rajapaksa. Rajapaksa was appointed as the prime minister by Sirisena last month after sacking Ranil Wickremesinghe. Soon after the appointment, Sirisena shut the Parliament for three weeks to keep protesters at bay.

Wickremesinghe, who declared his sudden dismissal as illegal, ignored a deadline to vacate his official residence.

Rajapaksa had called for a snap parliamentary election to allow people to vote for a new plan to overcome the country’s looming economic and political crisis. This was the first public statement by the former strongman since Sirisena appointed him as the new premier. As many as 13 petitions have been filed against Sirisena's November 9 order sacking the 225-member Parliament, almost 20 months before its term was to end.

The Sri Lankan Supreme Court on November 13 had issued an interim order ruling Sirisena's gazette notification as temporarily illegal and halted the preparations for snap polls.

Rajapaksa is a controversial figure at home and abroad. He has presided over the crushing of a decade-long Tamil uprising there. He is seen to be a closer aide of China than Wickremesinghe, who instead had sought to re-establish stronger ties with traditional ally and regional power, India. The crisis has again put the Indian Ocean under international spotlight following the turmoil in neighboring Maldives during its presidential election.

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