Voting for the next Sri Lankan President will take place in Parliament on July 20. The country’s main Parliamentary Opposition, the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), hopes its leader Sajith Premadasa will emerge winner.
In a statement issued after party leaders’ meeting, the office of the Speaker of the House announced that following the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on tomorrow, Parliament will convene on July 15, when the nomination period will be announced. On July 19, nominations will be called and submitted, and election will take place the next day.
“The Parliament Secretary General was at the meeting to explain the procedure after the President resigns. The relevant dates were told to us. The SJB has decided that Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa will be nominated for the post of President,” SJB General Secretary MP Ranjith Madduma Bandara told The Morning.
“The mandate of the President, the Premier, and the SLPP is no longer valid. They have come together and destroyed the country. That is why we, the main Opposition in Parliament, are ready to lead a programme that will stabilise the country and rebuild the country’s economy,” Premadasa said at a press conference.
SJB Member Ajith P. Perera said Premadasa is a leader who received 5.5 million votes in the last presidential election, and is also the alternative and suitable leader in the country, if Rajapaksa leaves his position.
“People’s hearts might have another leader at the moment, but there is a Constitutional process that should take place in the Parliament right now. As a policy, we support immediate presidential and general elections, if possible. But, according to the Constitution, right now the Parliament cannot be dissolved and a Presidential Election cannot be held either. Thus, the Parliament must decide on a President now,” he said.
Speaking further, Perera said that Premadasa is taking a political risk at the moment by accepting this responsibility, and that he does so with the hope that an all-party, interim government will be formed in the short term, with the agreement of other party leaders. “Once Constitutional reforms are brought in and as soon as the suitable time comes, let us go for an election and allow the people to choose their leader. We also invite Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) MP Dullas Alahapperuma to be a part of this process and to take his suitable position.”
Meanwhile, the SJB has held discussions with several political parties regarding the formation of an all-party government.
(By arrangement with ‘The Morning’)