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Sri Lanka's LoP Premadasa raises concern over Presidential polls

News Agencies | Updated on: 17 July 2022, 12:31 IST
Sajith Premadasa.

Sri Lanka's main Opposition leader and front-runner in the race for the next President, Sajith Premadasa on Sunday expressed his concerns over the Presidential polls and said that the current parliament does not represent the majority opinion of the people as it is composed of Gotabaya Rajapaksa's legislative majority.

In an exclusive interview with ANI, Premadasa said, "Right now, what you have is a Parliament that does not represent the majority opinion of the people of the ground. So, they will have to think far and think aloud as to how they will use their vote."

Speaking on the election procedure for President, Premadasa said that the 225 parliamentarians which are composed of Gotabaya Rajapaksa's majority in the Legislative Assembly, will decide the destiny of approx 22 million Sri Lankans.

"Usually, the President of Sri Lanka is chosen by the people... 22 million people are the voters, who have reached the age of voting, all have to choose their President. Right now, what we have is 225 parliamentarians choosing the President and this parliament is composed of Gotabaya Rajapaksa's legislative majority. So it is from that particular composition that President will be chosen," the opposition leader said.

Underscoring the country's economic crisis, Premadasa said that he had a plan to recover from the crisis and further said that he had been informing the government for the past 3 years to not take ill-advised economic steps, which granted tax benefits to super-rich people. "They never listened and we are in a devastating state right now," he added.

Premadasa advised that the country needs a fresh election to ensure that the entire system gets corrected.

Premadasa praised the Indian government and said, "We admire the gracious effort of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his government and the people of India for the tremendous support they have given us in terms of meeting the basic human needs of the people of our country. And we are so grateful and we continue to seek India's help and support in this regard."

Earlier, on Friday, Sri Lanka's main opposition leader Sajith Premadasa announced that he will contest the Presidential elections.

Taking to Twitter, Sajith Premadasa wrote, "I am contesting to be the President. The electorate is confined to 225 MPs with the GR (Gotabaya Rajapaksa) coalition dominating the numbers. Even though it is an uphill struggle, I am convinced that truth will prevail."

As the Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has resigned from office, in accordance with the Constitution, the Parliament will meet next week and take steps to elect a new President, read a special statement by acting President Ranil Wickremesinghe.

This comes as Sri Lanka faces its worst economic crisis since independence with food and fuel shortages.

Meanwhile, the Sri Lankan Supreme Court has issued an interim order that prevented former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and former Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa from leaving the country without the court's permission until July 28.

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Friday was sworn in as the interim President after Parliament Speaker Abeywardena accepted the resignation of Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa submitted his resignation letter Thursday after arriving in Singapore, officially vacating the post of President.


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First published: 17 July 2022, 12:31 IST