Sri Lanka on tenterhooks as President flees to Male
Shining BD Desk || Shining BD
After President Gotabaya Rajapaksa did the “Ashraf Ghani” act and fled to Male leaving the island nation in economic chaos, more violence is feared in Sri Lanka today as Left-backed protestors will mount more pressure on streets to bring about a political change.
While there are six candidates in the reckoning for the post of Sri Lankan president through Parliament vote on July 19, none of them have a majority or even the will to take on the leadership of the troubled nation. The worst-case scenario will be if former prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who is considered very close to the disgraced Rajapaksas, becomes a consensus candidate as he apparently has the backing of the West.
Even as Sri Lanka today is a bankrupt nation with food and fuel crisis, Gotabaya spent his entire Tuesday trying to secure a visa to United States but to no avail. Gotabaya had renounced his US citizenship to become President of Sri Lanka. He even tried to send feelers to India but, again, to no avail as New Delhi is with the people of Sri Lanka.
It is understood that Gotabaya, despite international counsel to stay put, left with family in the dead of Tuesday night and reached Male after an hour flight in a Sri Lankan Air Force medium lift Russian AN-32 plane. He was received by Speaker Mohammed Nasheed, who himself had fled to Sri Lanka in 2012, at the airport as Gotabaya is officially still the President of Sri Lanka. He is said to have sent a letter of his resignation as President to the Parliament Speaker before he left Colombo. The Speaker is also close to the Rajapaksas.
With Gotabaya out of Sri Lanka, the protestors will mount pressure on the immigration authorities on not allowing the Rajapaksa clan led by former prime minister Mahinda to escape. Considered close to China, Mahinda is still under military protection in Colombo as is his youngest brother, Basil. Contrary to media reports, it was former foreign minister Basil who was blocked by the protestors from escaping to Dubai via Emirates flight on Monday night.