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Monday, August 8, 2022

Ranil delivers special statement as Acting President; vows to safeguard Constitution

Ranil Wickremesinghe, delivering a televised special statement after taking oath as the Acting President, said that he would not allow any action that violates the Constitution of Sri Lanka.

Wickremesinghe was sworn as the caretaker president before Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya this morning, after former Head of State Gotabaya Rajapaksa officially stepped down effective from July 14, giving into the months-long public agitations.

Rajapaksa’s resignation was officially announced by the Speaker of Parliament in a special media briefing called earlier today.

In his address, Acting President Wickremesinghe also pledged that the official flag of the President will be abolished, stating that the country should move forward under one flag.

Further, the use of the reference term for the Head of State, “His Excellency” will be banned hereafter, he added.

The Acting President stressed the fact that the 19th Amendment to the Constitution must be fully implemented again. Wickremesinghe said he has made the necessary groundwork for the new President to bring forth the 19th constitutional amendment.

Wickremesinghe also said, as the Acting President, he would take expeditious measures to restore law and order in the country.

“I fully accept the right to protest peacefully. However, some people are now attempting to sabotage these protests, he said further, adding that there have been reports of attempts to pressurize the Members of Parliament who will be attending the parliamentary vote to elect a new President. Hence, full security will be provided to the lawmakers and no group will be allowed to destroy the democracy in the parliament, he emphasized.

A Member of Parliament will be elected in a vote scheduled for on the 20th of July and nominations for the presidency are accepted on the day before.

Speaking further, Wickremesinghe said he is bound to protect the Constitution. “I will not allow any unconstitutional conduct in the country. I am not working outside the Constitution.” He pointed out that the economy would be affected if law and order fall through, disrupting the supply of fuel, water, electricity and food items.

In order to maintain the law and order, a special committee comprising the Chief of the Defence Staff, the Inspector-General of Police and the Tri-forces Commanders has been appointed, Wickremesinghe continued, noting that the committee members are given full authority to take legal action without any political interference.

Further, he appealed to all political parties in the parliament to reach a common agreement with regard to the establishment of an all-party government. He urged them to put aside the differences in their political ideologies and come together for the sake of the country.

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