Disputed Sri Lankan prime minister resigns

Sri Lanka's former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has announced he has resigned as prime minister. File Photo by M.A. Pushpa Kumara/EPA-EFE

Dec. 15 (UPI) — Mahinda Rajapaksa has resigned as prime minister of Sri Lanka, capping weeks of political tension in the country over his appointment.

Rajapaksa told Sri Lankan Members of Parliament belonging to the United People’s Freedom Alliance political party of his departure, Sri Lankan newspaper The Daily Mirror reported.

In a statement posted to Twitter, Rajapaksa, also a former president of the island nation, said he wants new elections to be held in Sri Lanka.

“Since I have no intention of remaining as Prime Minister without a general election being held, and in order to not hamper the President in any way, I will resign from the position of Prime Minister and make way for the President to form a new [government],” Rajapaksa said.

The Indian Express cited a report in The Colombo Post, which said Ranil Wickremesinghe, who President Maithripala Sirisena fired in October before appointing Rajapaksa as his replacement, may take the oath of office to once again become prime minister as soon as Sunday.

A constitutional crisis followed Wickremesinghe’s sacking in late October. Sirisena dissolved the nation’s parliament in early November, but that decision was temporarily blocked by the supreme court. Days later, a fight broke out on the floor of Parliament and one MP was hospitalized.

MPs voted twice in November to remove Rajapaksa from office. In early December, a court blocked him from officially taking the position.


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