COLOMBO — Sri Lanka’s challenged Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned from his premiership on Saturday, paving way for a new government to be established under President Maithripala Sirisena, China’s Xinhua News Agency reported.
Rajapaksa signed his resignation letter, surrounded by his party members at his official residence in capital Colombo, television footage showed.
Shehan Semasinghe, a lawmaker, from the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), a party to which Rajapaksa belongs, said Rajapaksa signed his resignation after making a special statement, which will be shown to the nation through a televised address on Saturday afternoon.
Semasinghe said Rajapaksa and his group will function as a strong opposition at the parliament and will continue their call for a parliamentary election to end the political instability which was facing the country.
Rajapaksa decided to resign from his premiership after the Supreme Court on Friday continued a suspension order on him and his cabinet from continuing in office.
The Supreme Court issued the order after hearing a petition filed by Rajapaksa who sought the Supreme Court’s verdict after the Court of Appeal, on Dec 3, issued a temporary stay order on him and his government.
The stay order was issued after 122 lawmakers filed a petition saying the government had been defeated in two no-confidence motions at the parliament and they could no longer continue to function as ministers.
Meanwhile, the United National Party, led by Ranil Wickremesinghe who was sacked as the prime minister on Oct 26 by President Maithripala Sirisena, in a small statement on their official Twitter account said Wickremesinghe would be sworn in as the premier once again on Sunday morning.
A new cabinet is expected to be appointed thereafter.