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Former Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa (Photo Credit: Reuters)
Former Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa (Photo Credit: Reuters)

Sri Lanka ex-president Rajapaksa extends stay in Singapore

ANI | Updated: Jul 27, 2022 11:18 IST

Singapore, July 27 (ANI): Sri Lanka's former president Gotabaya Rajapaksa has extended his stay in Singapore for another 14 days, the Straits Times reported on Wednesday.
Rajapaksa was issued a 14-day visit pass when he arrived at the Changi Airport in Singapore from the Maldives on July 14. His pass to the city-state will now expire on August 11, the newspaper reported.
Sri Lanka's cabinet spokesman Bandula Gunawardena said on Tuesday at a press conference in Colombo that Rajapaksa is expected to return to the country from Singapore.
The former president who sledged the nation initially stayed at a hotel in the city centre but is believed to have moved to a private residence, strait times reported.
Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on July 14 that Rajapaksa had not asked for asylum and neither had he been granted any asylum.
Singapore generally does not grant requests for asylum, the Ministry added.
Sri Lanka's Parliament Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena announced the official resignation of Rajapaksa on July 15.
73-year-old Gotabaya Rajapaksa had gone into hiding after crowds of protesters stormed his residence on July 9. Ranil Wickremesinghe
Ranil Wickremesinghe was sworn in as President of Sri Lanka on July 21 in Parliament before Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya. He was elected as president in an election held in Parliament a day prior to the swearing-in ceremony.
Wickremesinghe received 134 votes following the resignation of Gotabaya Rajapaksa from the presidency last week amid severe economic turmoil in the country.
After winning the parliament vote by secret ballot, Wickremesinghe addressed the parliament, calling on all legislators including the opposition parliamentarians to unite and work together with him to lead Sri Lanka out of the current economic crisis.
"We are at a critical juncture. There is an economic crisis and the youth want a system change. People want all parliamentarians to come together," he said.
Out of the 225 parliamentarians, 223 voted to elect a new president and there were four invalid votes.
Wickremesinghe is not a new name in politics and has served as the Prime Minister of the island nation six times earlier. He was one of the top contenders for the Presidential election in which members of the House voted through a secret ballot.
Earlier, Wickremesinghe was appointed as the interim president of Sri Lanka after Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled abroad after his palace was stormed by angry protesters amid the unprecedented economic crisis.
The country is facing a severe shortage of fuel and other essential supplies and is in the throes of its worst-ever economic crisis with soaring inflation. The oil supply shortage has forced schools and government offices to close until further notice.
Reduced domestic agricultural production, a lack of foreign exchange reserves, and local currency depreciation have fuelled the shortages.
The economic crisis will push many families into hunger and poverty - some for the first time - adding to the half a million people who the World Bank estimates have fallen below the poverty line because of the pandemic. (ANI)