Middle East

Sri Lanka’s exiled leader says he “maximized” for a bankrupt country

Colombo: The exiled president of Sri Lanka made his “maximum” efforts to avoid an economic catastrophe, but the coronavirus pandemic upset his efforts, he read to parliament on Saturday. Said in his resignation. A brief note from Gotabaya Rajapaksa sent from the safety of a safe shelter in Singapore led to his humiliating escape abroad, blaming COVID-19 for the financial crisis that caused months of protest. ..

“I have done my best for the country, and I will continue to contribute for the country,” Rajapaksa said in a letter, which Parliamentary Secretary-General Damika Dasanayake read to lawmakers. It was not clear whether he indicated his intention to remain involved in politics from his asylum. “It is a matter of personal satisfaction for me that I was able to protect people from the pandemic despite the economic crisis we are already facing,” Rajapaksa insisted.

The virus killed more than 16,500 people and infected more than 660,000 people in 22 million countries. There, Rajapaksa refused to begin the blockade on the first wave and told the doctor, “Don’t panic.” One of his ministers said Sri Lanka did not need foreign vaccines and local relief from shamans was more than sufficient.

When Rajapaksa took office in November 2019, Sri Lanka’s reserves were already low, and subsequent pandemics claimed to have devastated the economy. However, critics say that mismanagement of the government was a decisive factor. According to official figures, foreign exchange reserves were $ 7.5 billion when Sri Lanka took over, but by the time he resigned, they had dropped to just $ 1 million. The country is officially bankrupt.

Rajapaksa, 73, came to power as a leading leader in 2019, but was expelled from his official residence a week ago after being attacked by thousands of protesters. Parliament will elect his permanent successor on Wednesday, after Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, also subject to protesters’ contempt, has been sworn in as a provisional successor. Rajapaksa’s letter was uncontroversial and the formal session ended in just 13 minutes, but political sources say horse trading is already underway and no candidate is guaranteed a block of power.

Wickremesinghe, 73, is a major candidate and has the support of Rajapaksa’s SLPP party, but some of its members say they will not vote for him. SLPP dissident and former media minister Dullas Alahapperuma, 63, also argued, and opposition leader Sajith Premadasa announced his candidacy on Friday night. Former Army Chief of Staff Saras Fonseca, 71, also wants to run. – AFP

https://www.kuwaittimes.com/sri-lankas-ousted-leader-says-he-did-utmost-for-bankrupt-nation/ Sri Lanka’s exiled leader says he “maximized” for a bankrupt country

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