The President of Sri Lanka Gotabaya Rajapaksa has officially resigned from his office.
The event follows after ongoing protests in his country driven by economic collapse, compelled him to flee. He was initially suppose to resign on the 13th of June but fled before the announced time and extended the resignation for a day.
Sri Lanka’s Presidents are granted immunity from arrest while in power, and it is likely why Gotabaya planned his escape while still holding constitutional immunity.
Gotabaya’s arrival to Maldives on an AN32 troop transport plane from Sri Lanka was criticized heavily by the people of both Sri Lanka and Maldives. He departed from the Maldives for Singapore on a Saudi Airlines flight on Thursday morning.
Govt. of Maldives responds:
In a statement published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the Govt. of Maldives acted on an official request made by the Govt. of Sri Lanka. “Maldives granted diplomatic clearance for a Sri Lanka Air Force aircraft carrying His Excellency Gotabaya Rajapaksa, President of Sri Lanka and spouse, on a transit visit, to land at the Velana International Airport on 13 July 2022.”
Parliament speaker Mohamed Nasheed comments on the President’s resignation:
In the statement made via Twitter, Nasheed stated that Rajapaksa has resigned, and went on express hope that Sri Lanka can now “move forward.”
🇱🇰 President GR has resigned. I hope Sri Lanka can now move forward. I believe the President would not have resigned if he were still in Sri Lanka, and fearful of losing his life. I commend the thoughtful actions of the Govt of Maldives. My best wishes to the people of Sri Lanka.
— Mohamed Nasheed (@MohamedNasheed) July 14, 2022
Nasheed also said that it was his belief that had Rajapaksa remained in Sri Lanka, he would not have resigned.He added that Rajapaksa was fearful of losing his life.
In addition to this, he commanded the ‘thoughtful actions’ of the Maldivian government, for allowing Rajapaksa to transit through Maldives while he fled.
Reactions by the Pubic:
At the release of this statement, people had mixed emotions. Some who heavily criticized and accused Nasheed for facilitating this process and some who wanted to justify the actions that were taken.
You really should stay away from matters not concerning your country.
— Munza Mushtaq (@munza14) July 14, 2022
A journalist from Sri Lanka commented saying that Nasheed should stay from matters that doesn’t concerns his country.
Gota was the President of Sri Lanka when he arrived to Maldives. There was no arrest warrant against him. His flight was given landing clearance by the government of Maldives. There is no point in venting anger at @MohamedNasheed who might not have been part of the decision.
— Hussain Musthaq (@hmusthaq) July 14, 2022
While another handler commented saying that at the time of Gota’s arrival to Maldives, he was still the President of Sri Lanka and there was no arrest warrant against him. It was the Govt. of Maldives who gave the landing clearance and that there is no point in venting anger at Mohamed Nasheed.
The post sparked outraged, people had too many to say and express, most of what was felt as let down and disappointment.This is what they had to say-
We can move forward when Gotabaya Rajapaksa is held accountable for the war crimes, human rights violations and his failed economic and agriculture policies.
— .🇱🇰 (@RegularReh) July 14, 2022
“He was fearful of losing his life.” If he had stayed until Friday, he could have grown his own vegetables. Then waited in a 5-6 day cue for gas to cook those vegetables. Then have an emergency surgery by candlelight, if at all. Best wishes/all-consuming rage for this message. https://t.co/VMrzYlOPSw
— Mythri Jegathesan (@MythriJega) July 14, 2022
You meddled in another country’s political sovereignty. You should be labeled an enemy of the Sri Lankan state.
— DΛЯΛП KΛПDΛƧΛMY 🇱🇰 (@duhcoolies) July 14, 2022
Whereas the ones who sided with Nasheed justified the course-
Pres Nasheed expressed his views that doesn’t mean that he was the one who approved Gota to transit in Maldives. President @ibusolih must be really thrilled to read all the Srilankan comments to this tweet https://t.co/bIj1XKgk6r
— Aisthu 🎈 (@aisthu) July 14, 2022
Escaped from mob justice. Currently there is no room in SL for (a) a fair accountability process & (b) witch-hunt politics. @GotabayaR’s absence gives space for stability & healing SL needs. #Maldives helped avoid a bloodshed in #Srilanka. Thankyou @ibusolih @MohamedNasheed pic.twitter.com/Ycg80x3fDz
— Moosa Anwar 🇲🇻 (@moosaanvar) July 14, 2022
Sri Lankans do not require a visa to visit Maldives.
Gota is Sri Lanka’s elected President by 52.25%
We dont know how many Sri Lankans want Maldives to send him back.
There is no interpol red notice demanding to return him.
Sri Lankan judiciary has not banned Gota from leaving.
— Aishath Aniya (@Aniya_A) July 14, 2022
Statement by Sri Lankan Air Force:
“Pursuant to the request of the government and in accordance with the powers vested in a President in the Constitution of Sri Lanka, the Sri Lanka air force provided a plane early today to fly the President, his wife and two security officials to the Maldives,” Sri Lankan air force confirmed.
As protesters continued to take to the streets of the capital Colombo, and official buildings including the presidential palace and prime minister’s office following Rajapaksa’s departure – Wickremesinghe called a state of emergency across the country.