Colombo, Sri Lanka – Two days after tens of 1000’s of protesters compelled the president and the prime minister of Sri Lanka to flee their residences, the 2 leaders haven’t been seen in public.
Whereas the whereabouts of embattled President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is publicly unknown, officers advised Al Jazeera on Monday that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s present handle is a intently guarded secret.
Hours earlier than the protesters started marching in direction of the President’s Home and his workplace in capital Colombo on Saturday morning, police introduced an in a single day curfew which was denounced as unlawful by authorized specialists.
Amid confusion and chaos following the curfew announcement late on Friday, it’s believed the president’s safety made preparations for Rajapaksa to flee to a safer place.
Journalist and political analyst Kusal Perera advised Al Jazeera the president’s safety had the choice to take him to a naval camp via an underground bunker constructed throughout the presidency of Gotabaya’s elder brother Mahinda Rajapaksa.
From there, specialists consider, the 73-year-old president might have been taken to a navy ship via Colombo harbour.
“The gunboats had been [on] standby on the navy camp since Mahinda Rajapaksa presidency,” stated Perera, who was an in depth affiliate of Mahinda.
“Due to this fact, I can assume that Gotabaya Rajapaksa may need been taken to the adjoining Sri Lanka navy camp via the underground bunker after which taken to another location by the navy along with presidential safety,” he advised Al Jazeera.
“However I truly don’t know the place that vessel at the moment is. That is solely a tough calculation.”
Many media studies, quoting navy sources, have additionally stated Rajapaksa is at the moment on a naval vessel at sea.
Sources near the president additionally advised Al Jazeera he could possibly be on a vessel close to the Sri Lankan border and that he might flee the nation if the state of affairs will get worse.
Public Safety Minister Tiran Alles, the minister in control of police, advised Al Jazeera that safety officers are scheduled to fulfill afterward Monday to evaluate the safety state of affairs within the nation.
The safety preparations for political leaders would even be on the agenda, he stated.
“We wouldn’t talk about the place the president is. We might neither talk about it nor would we disclose it,” Alles advised Al Jazeera. “I don’t suppose it’s even acceptable to ask that query.”
Wickremesinghe, who was made homeless after his ancestral dwelling in Colombo was set on fireplace within the Saturday chaos, nonetheless attends official duties on the prime minister’s workplace beneath heavy safety.
At a gathering on Monday morning, some cupboard ministers agreed to “hand over their tasks” to a brand new authorities “as quickly there may be an settlement to type an all-party authorities”, Wickremesinghe’s workplace stated in an announcement.
As Wickremesinghe doesn’t occupy Temple Timber, the prime minister’s official residence at the moment occupied by the protesters, it’s now a intently guarded secret the place he spends his time outdoors official obligation.
“I can not disclose that. It’s for the safety forces to rearrange that so I can not remark about it,” Shanuka Karunaratne, prime minister’s media secretary, advised Al Jazeera.
Alles, the minister in control of public safety, stated what issues is that Wickremesinghe remains to be finishing up his official duties.
“It isn’t necessary for us the place he stays. He nonetheless involves the PM’s workplace and attend[s] conferences so, particularly resulting from safety causes, we don’t verify the place his personal residence is,” the minister stated.
In the meantime, with out straight mentioning the prime minister, President Rajapaksa has launched an announcement, saying he’ll solely talk via the parliamentary speaker. Bulletins made by the speaker alone should be thought of because the official statements from the president, it stated.
The president issued the assertion hours after one other assertion by Wickremesinghe’s workplace stated Rajapaksa has formally confirmed his impending resignation on July 13.
Although the president’s assurance to stop was made public on Saturday by the parliamentary speaker, many in Sri Lanka don’t belief his phrases and consider Rajapaksa is as soon as once more attempting to purchase time, hoping the general public temper would change if fuel and gas provides get higher.
Each the leaders, nevertheless, additionally appear to be engaged in an influence tussle.
Wickremesinghe, who has contested a number of presidential elections, can be counting his time to succeed Rajapaksa if and when he resigns, specialists say.
However political analysts say the Rajapaksa clan is unwilling to pave the way in which for a Wickremesinghe presidency, even when short-term, and prefers Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardene, an in depth Rajapaksa relative, to succeed the president.
In response to Sri Lanka’s structure, the prime minister briefly turns into the top of state if the president resigns.
Thereafter, the parliament can both ratify the event inside a month or elect one other member of parliament because the president to proceed the remainder of the time period.
If each the president and the prime minister resign, the speaker takes over the presidency.