Thursday Sep 29, 2022
Thursday Sep 29, 2022

Sri Lanka’s President has declared a state of emergency

2022 Jul 18, 13:42, sri lanka
Sri Lanka's ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe looks on during a parliament session in Colombo, Sri Lanka December. REUTERS

Emergency has been declared in the crisis-ridden island nation in an effort to head off unrest ahead of a vote in parliament later this week to elect a new president.

Wickremesinghe announced the measure “in the interests of public security, the protection of public order and the maintenance of supplies and services essential to the life of the community,” according to a government notice released late on Sunday.

The specific legal provisions of the latest emergency are yet to be announced by the government but previous emergency regulations have been used to deploy the military to arrest and detain people, search private property and dampen public protests.

The state of emergency was declared and announced last week, after overthrown President Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled the country to escape a popular uprising against his government.

Rajapaksa then flew to the Maldives and then to Singapore after hundreds of thousands of anti-government protesters took to the streets of Colombo and occupied his official residence and offices.

Wickremesinghe was sworn in as interim leader on Friday. He has promised to follow the constitution and establish law and order after months of protests over crippling fuel shortages and soaring prices of basic goods.

Sri Lanka’s parliament met on Saturday to begin the process of electing a president for the next five years, as a shipment of fuel arrived to provide some relief to the crisis-hit nation of 22 million people.

Wickremesinghe, an ally of Rajapaksa, is a top contender to assume the presidency full-time. But protesters want him gone, raising the prospect of further unrest should he be elected.

Protest leader Melani Gunathilake says Sri Lanka needs a new leader “at least below the age of 60”, who is not accused of corruption and other misdeeds.


Sri Lanka state of emergency Ranil Wickremesinghe
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