Amid the unfolding crisis, Sri Lanka’s embattled president Gotabaya Rajapaksa was stuck in his own country on Tuesday in a humiliating standoff with airport immigration staff blocking his exit to safety abroad, official sources said Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Basil Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka’s former finance minister and younger brother of Rajapaksa, was turned back at Colombo airport on Tuesday as he attempted to leave the country through the VIP terminal, an immigration officer said, amid mounting anger against the powerful family for mishandling the worst economic crisis.
Basil, 71, tried to leave the crisis-hit island nation, a day before Speaker of Parliament Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena is expected to publicly announce President Rajapaksa’s resignation to the nation.
The question on everybody’s mind is what next for Sri Lanka. These dates may hold the answer:
July 13: Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is likely to be sworn in as the temporary President. According to the Sri Lankan Constitution, the Prime Minister automatically becomes the President after the sitting President resigns. Wickremesinghe is accused of aiding and abetting the corrupt Rajapaksas every time.
- July 13: Rajapaksa has promised to resign on Wednesday and clear the way for a “peaceful transition of power”, following widespread protests against him over the country’s unprecedented economic crisis.
- July 15: The Sri Lankan Parliament will convene. A successor must be chosen through a vote in parliament within a month of Rajapaksa leaving, but the speaker promised a new leader within a week. However, on Sunday it was unclear who if anyone would be able to garner enough support among lawmakers to succeed Rajapaksa. “We are heading for dangerous uncertainty,” minority Tamil legislator Dharmalingam Sithadthan told AFP. “Gota should have resigned immediately without leaving a power vacuum.”
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- July 19: Nominations will be called in for the post of President.
- July 20: A new President will be elected by the MPs.