TE24 International Desk:
Sri Lanka’s military rejected current President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s order to use force against protesters after President Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled to Male to escape public anger over the island’s current economic crisis.
India said it favored the people of Sri Lanka and a democratic process to elect the country’s next president after Gotabaya stepped down, but elders from the disgraced Rajapaksa clan were elected until after his inauguration. It is understood that Singapore will resign from Male to get the diplomatic protocol it needs at Changi International.
Observers in Colombo believe Gotabaya left for Singapore today as a US destination. Gotabaya renounced his US citizenship and became the President of Sri Lanka. His younger brother Basil still retains his US citizenship.
The appointment of Ranil Wickremesinghe as acting president of a volatile country has also added to public anger, as evidenced by the janta’s attempts to attack both the Congress and the Prime Minister’s office on the streets on Wednesday. Ranil, who is believed to be part of the extended Rajapaksa family with close ties to Mahinda, also had the power to quell the protests, after imposing a national curfew with the help of Sri Lankan troops.
I have urged the security forces to use it. This was opposed because the Sri Lankan military establishment did not want to be seen as anti-human who are currently starving for food and fuel for the Rajapaksa clan’s waste.
At the request of the Third Army Commander, party leaders met on Tuesday and passed a unanimous resolution calling for Ranil’s resignation as acting president. The latter, in turn, issued another statement that he would not resign until a new leader accepted by all parties was appointed.
He ordered the security forces to protect state institutions and use force if necessary to control the law and order situation. Security forces refuse to use extreme force against civilians. With no party having the unanimity to secure the next presidential election, it is clear that the Rajapaksa faction will politically drive Ronil to maintain his top position for the foreseeable future.
Protesters in Aragala have also been criticized on social media for attacking public facilities. Supporters of the far-left Frontline Socialist Party (FSP) were said to be responsible for the disorderly situation on the streets. Several protesters and guards were injured in clashes outside Sri Lanka’s parliament.
President Gotabaya’s flight to the Maldives also brought Chairman Mohammad Nasheed and the ruling MDP government to the mat to facilitate the disgraced Sri Lankan leader’s escape. A faction of the main opposition Maldives National Party has decided to table a motion in parliament to consider the Male government’s move to help Gotabaya escape from Colombo.
With Gotabaya people outraged at the President’s planting of Sri Lanka’s ronil, none of the other leaders want to interfere in the economic and political turmoil created by the Rajapaksa clan, hence the island nation’s laws.
The order is tight. The only answer to the current situation is an early general election under a bipartisan presidency unrelated to the disgraced Rajapaksa.