SRI LANKA: Gopal Baglay, the Indian High Commissioner in Colombo, met with Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena on Saturday ahead of a session of the Sri Lankan Parliament where a new president will be chosen.
Baglay assured Abeywardena that India would continue to support Sri Lanka’s democracy, stability, and economic recovery.
After disgraced President Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled the country and eventually resigned and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was sworn in as Acting President, this was the Indian envoy’s first publicly stated interaction with the Sri Lankan parliament.
In a Twitter post, the Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka, said, “High Commissioner called on Hon’ble Speaker today morning. Appreciated Parliament’s role in upholding democracy and Constitutional framework, especially at this crucial juncture. Conveyed that will continue to be supportive of democracy, stability and economic recovery in.”
Given that demonstrators continue to call for Wickremesinghe, the entire Cabinet, and key officials to resign, New Delhi’s statement of support for the democratic process under the Sri Lankan Constitution assumes relevance.
On Saturday, a group assembled and demonstrated in front of the Indian High Commission in Colombo.
The legislative procedure to choose a new leader on July 20 has started in the meantime. Speaker Abeywardena had announced on Friday that the new President would be chosen by Parliament on July 20 following a decision made by the heads of all political parties.
According to the Constitution’s rules, the nomination period for the position will open on July 19 and close on July 20, according to the Communications Department of Parliament.
Along with Wickremesinghe, other individuals who have shown interest in running for president include JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake, former Army chief Sarath Fonseka, opposition leader Sajith Premadasa, and former minister Dullas Alahapperuma.
If there are multiple candidates, the legislators will vote on Wednesday, according to a statement made on Saturday by the general secretary of the parliament, Dhammika Dasanayake.
He pointed out that the economic issue was present even before he assumed office in 2019 and that the coronavirus pandemic’s repeated lockdowns had made it worse.