PM, Speaker to come under focus as Sri Lanka prepares for appointment of Rajapaksa's successor

The Article 40 (b) states that such election shall be held as soon as possible after the occurrence of the vacancy and in no case later than one month from the date of occurrence of the vacancy.

Published: 12th July 2022 10:06 PM  |   Last Updated: 12th July 2022 10:06 PM   |  A+A-

Sri Lankan president Gotabaya Rajapaksa sings the national anthem of Sri Lanka during the country's Independence Day celebration in Colombo. (Photo | AP)

By PTI

COLOMBO: When embattled Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa resigns on Wednesday as promised, the constitutional provisions will get activated to elect his successor, according to a senior lawyer.

"There will be two people who would come under immediate focus, the sitting prime minister and the speaker of parliament," lawyer Kamal Perera said.

He cited the Article 40 (c) of the Sri Lankan Constitution which reads "during the period between the occurrence of such vacancy and the assumption of office by the new president, the prime minister shall act in the office of the president."

"If the prime minister is unable to act, the Speaker shall act in the office of president."

The parliament would then proceed to fill the vacancy by an election among MPs, Perera said.

The Article 40 (b) states that such election shall be held as soon as possible after the occurrence of the vacancy and in no case later than one month from the date of occurrence of the vacancy.

The Article 40 (1) says parliament shall elect a president from one of its members who is qualified to be elected to the office of the president.

"Such elected person shall hold office only for the unexpired period of the term of office vacating the office."

Perera said the ballot to appoint the successor in parliament would be held according to the Presidential elections Act no 2 of 1981.

In terms of article 5 of the Act, "The Secretary-General of parliament shall inform parliament that a vacancy has occurred. He shall fix a date and time not earlier than 48 hours and not later than seven days from the date of such meeting."

He would act as the returning officer for the election with each member being able to vote.

They are able to mark their preferences depending on the number of candidates vying to be elected as president.

Rajapaksa, whose whereabouts are not known since Friday, has informed both Speaker of Parliament Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe that he will resign on July 13, days after protesters stormed his official residence in rage over the island nation's worst economic crisis.

Speaker Abeywardena is expected to publicly announce President Rajapaksa's resignation to the nation on Wednesday.



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