Corruption charges dropped against immune new Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa

Nellie Chapman
November 21, 2019

Sri Lanka's prime minister will announce his resignation to the nation later Wednesday, bringing his government to an end following his party's presidential election debacle, officials told AFP.

Following the victory of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the recently concluded Presidential Election, former Premier Wickremesinghe rendered his resignation clearing the way for new President to form a government.

Ranil Wickremesinghe's move will clear the way for new President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, elected on Saturday in a landslide, to appoint a replacement of his choice and a new government.

He is set to be his party's candidate in a parliamentary election expected around April.

"They say they want to make Sri Lankans to feel safe again following the Easter Bombings".

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Mahinda Rajapaksa is widely applauded with ending a 26-year separatist civil war with ethnic Tamil rebels during his presidency from 2005 to 2015.

He ended up facing accusations of cronyism and incompetence and was also implicated in several financial scandals himself. The decision was made on the advice of the attorney general, said spokeswoman Nishara Jayaratne.

The brothers are considered heroes among Sri Lanka's Sinhalese majority and the powerful Buddhist clergy, but Gotabaya has been accused of war crimes in connection with the alleged killing of around 40,000 Tamil civilians in the final stages of the conflict. However, action could be taken after he leaves office.

The High Court had indicted Mr Rajapaksa in September past year on charges of siphoning 33 million rupees (S$251,100) in state funds to build a memorial for his parents.

In a boost to his grip on power, a court on Thursday discharged President Rajapaksa in a corruption case, citing constitutional provisions for presidential immunity. Gotabaya Rajapaksa extended his "warmest wishes" to the prime minister ahead of the ceremony.

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