President Gotabaya Rajapaksa refuses to resign

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa vowed to finish the remaining two years in his term despite monthslong street protests calling for his ouster, but won’t stand for re-election as he focuses on fixing a financial mess that tipped Sri Lanka into its worst-ever economic crisis.

“I can’t go as a failed president,” Rajapaksa said Monday in a wide-ranging interview at his official residence in Colombo, his first with a foreign media organization since the crisis unfolded. “I have been given a mandate for five years. I will not contest again.”

The defiance comes in the face of slogans of “Gota Go Home,” with protesters blaming Rajapaksa and his family for decisions that led to severe shortages of everything from fuel to medicine, stoking inflation to 40% and forcing a historic debt default. Thousands of demonstrators have camped outside the president’s seaside office since mid-March, forcing him to retreat to his barricaded official residence about a kilometer away.

The economic tailspin spiraled into political turmoil with the resignation of the president’s old brother — Mahinda Rajapaksa — as the nation’s prime minister, after clashes between government supporters and the protesters turned bloody in May.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his new Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe are seeking about $6 billion in aid over six months from the International Monetary Fund and countries including India and China, Wickemesinghe told parliament on Tuesday. Stocks plunged for a third day with the blue-chip S&P Sri Lanka 20 Index down 3.6% as of 11:15 a.m. in Colombo Tuesday. The rupee has lost about 82% over the past year and the nation’s debt is trading deep in distressed territory.

“This is unlikely to placate protesters who are calling for his immediate resignation,” said Patrick Curran, an economist at Tellimer. “With presidential elections more than two years away, Rajapaksa’s decision to see his term through will contribute to heightened political uncertainty over the next couple years and could hamper reform efforts.”

The president said he wanted to replicate his previous successful stints serving the nation. Gotabaya Rajapaksa oversaw the urban development authority and was Sri Lanka’s defense secretary under then-President Mahinda Rajapaksa, when they crushed a 30-year civil war in 2009.

The president reiterated his controversial goal to push through “natural agriculture,” a short-lived move to ban chemical fertilizers that caused crop output to slump.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa was also skeptical about the success of a planned amendment to the constitution, which seeks to contain the executive presidency. Cabinet is due to approve the proposals as early as Monday, which would rollback wide-ranging powers Gotabaya Rajapaksa pushed through parliament shortly after he was elected president in 2019.

A draft of the so-called 21st amendment gives some powers back to the parliament and restores independence to commissions in key decisionmaking.

Either the presidency should be abolished or the parliament is kept out of governing, Gotabaya Rajapaksa said.

“You can’t have a mixed system,” he said. “I experienced this and now know. People may blame me when I tell this but that’s the truth.” (Bloomberg)

13 COMMENTS

  1. GR openly admits that he has failed. AND he wants another 2 YEARS. For what? To make the nationals to hold coconut shells in a que? Has he gone BONKERS, to assume that the citizens are anxious to see his pranks as a mentally retarded child?
    2. He also wants a Westminster type Parliament!!!! Who is going fill the seats in this? The same 225 MPs who voted for the 20th amendment to line up their pockets? Find a single MP whose assets today have not increased during these past two years. Changing the building or the system will not bring in prosperity, but dignity and honesty of a person holding that position.
    3. He also said, he should have gone to IMF six months earlier. For what? So that the clan could swindle that amount as well?
    Sri Lanka has a lot of Welfare programs because we are a Buddhist country. But this is the first time, that somebody is seeking to destroy the nation wholesale and wants the public to support him from welfare fund. This is a record.

  2. Mr President, you should have resigned once you had screwed up the agriculture sector. You have made food shortages as well as decreased the tea exports. As far as I know no other leader has screwed up his country as you did. History will remember you as a foolish President of Sri Lanka/South Asia whether you resign now or go home in two years.

  3. Another interesting point from Faraz Shauketalys interview with Sajith Premadasa he conveniently ignored the GGG protests demand to recover stolen monies and assets revealing that he is the one truly protecting the Rajapaksas while lying that Ranil is protecting them.

    He also lies that there are no bad apples in SJB while having gangsters and black money holders. One even got caught recently when his son and the wife attacked a police officer…

    So many gangsters in SJB and he lies to you, just imagine how bad he will be if elected?

    No one will vote for SJB it will be a new party with all new faces that wins the next elections. Not one of these criminals will be given a chance ever again.

    • Dear Silva, this article about President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Why are you talking about Sajith? Clearly, you are a fan of Ranil, you don’t know what is relevant. You only concern about Ranil’s position, so you can get some financial benefits from him at the expense of the country.

      • You are the person living in Australia who pretends to know the suffering of the people on the ground here in Sri Lanka aren’t you? Sounds really hypocritical isn’t it?
        If you were living in Sri Lanka you would understand the connections…

        • Dear Silva(fake profile) I was born among Sri Lankans, so I know how they think. I frequently visited Sri Lanka and I know the situation. Plus I have read enough world history which is helping me to understand South Asians’ stupidity. Sri Lanka went behind poor and undeveloped India in 1948. This shows their utter stupidity. Since then they have multiplied their population(stupidity) four times. This will make it impossible for Sri Lanka to come up. Every year pass by, Sri Lanka’s chance of coming up will get harder. You can understand what I am trying to say, if you check the timeline of Sri Lanka’s backward progress since 1948. As you see, the leaders’ educational standards are getting low and their decision making skills are getting worse. I don’t believe that Sri Lanka has a chance. It is done whether Mahinda, Ranil or Sajith takes the leadership. The world has many countries with billions of people. Those countries won’t wait for you to fix your mistakes. You had a chance but you missed it, Singapore has gained what you had lost. Losing one generation is a big loss in geopolitics, but Sri Lanka lost three generations, impossible to come back.

  4. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s frank and outspoken statement should be most welcome Nationally and Internationally. 2 years is long time to wait and re-think Mr. President. Maybe the people (69 lakhs voters) will ask you to contest at the next presidential elections, if any that may take place. Maybe the SLPP will rise like the PHONIEX FROM THE ASHES at the next presidential and general elections. It is your duty now to make sure that all the conspiracies that were put in place by the JVP, NPP, SJB, TNA, The Catholic Church and the Front-line Socialist Party over the last few months to try and topple the democratically elected peoples government in connivance with the foreign forces that may be who wished a “regime change” in Sri Lanka, should be “PROBED” fully and in “DEPTH” within the next 6 – 12 months and the truth be exposed to the “NATION”. WHY HAS THE POLICE OR CID OR MINISTRY OF DEFENCE STILL NOT ARRESTED FORMER JVP MP AND ONE OF THE JVP LEADERS – LAL KANTHA FOR HIS CONFESSION OF INSTIGATING THE VIOLENCE THAT TOOK PLACE ON MARCH 9th., AND MARCH 10th., THROUGHOUT THE ISLAND WHERE ARSON AND HOUSE BURNING OF FORMER MINISTERS AND GOVERNMENT MP’s WERE SUBJECTED TO AND EVEN A GOVERNMENT MP AND HIS P.A. WAS BRUTELY MURDERED?
    If you fail to do this (accomplish this duty by the “RULE-OF-LAW”) it will be a “SHAME” on you and you will then be considered as a “FAILED” President of Sri Lanka, Sir.
    Noor Nizam – Peace and Political Activist, Political Communication Researcher, SLFP/SLPP Stalwart and Patriotic Citizen.

    • Dear Noor Nizam, stop your bullshit. The young Sri Lankans are not trying to change the successful regime which made Sri Lanka as Singapore. Let’s talk about the country’s food shortages, lack of money for medicines, fuel and gas. Also talk about the pro government thugs who attacked the peaceful protesters first, then only arson and house burning took place. There is a possibility pro government thugs would have pretended as protesters to deliberately destroy the offices, houses and vehicles to undermine the peaceful protest. I believe it was well planned, because the young protesters would not know all the MPs addresses to burn their houses within a short period. Anything is possible in Sri Lankan; after seeing Easter Sunday bombings, especially Easter Sunday bombings’ mastermind is free to carry on.

      • Dear Antany,
        It has been proved and recorded in all TV news channels and You Tube channels that the youngsters you mention are “extremists” of the JVP and the Socialist Frontline Party supporters. The affiliation of the IUSF with the JVP/Frontline Socialist Party and the secretive links with the SJB clearly shows that the “Youngsters are not just civilian politically motivated
        youth who were active in the protests”. News clips and You Tube channel clippings/videos show the same “faces” of the so-called youngsters in the “FRONT LINE” of all the agitations. Some are even in disguise (having grown beards) to be seen different in the different protests they took leads on and off during the “RIOTS” and press meetings they held in the so0called “Gota-gama” demarcation made by them. Some of those “youngsters” you have referred are not “STUDENTS”, but “matured” men and “DRUG ADDICTICTS” as reported by the police and security personnel of the country. Even they are the same person seen/noticed every where where there was agitation against the police barriers and “ARSON” taking place/. So your above comment is of n value Antany. Wait and see. The culprits will be revealed and punished in due course within the “Rule of Law”.
        Noor Nizam – Peace and Political Activist, Political Communication Researcher, SLFP/SLPP Stalwart and Patriotic Citizen.

  5. Hilarious interview on Newsfirsts Faraz Shauketalys show Newsline.

    Faraz Shauketaly was finding it hard not to laugh while trying to make Sajith Premadasa not look like an absolute joke.

    He’s going to solve the economic crisis with his charisma hahaha.

    No wonder SJB spend most of their time attacking Ranil instead of the Rajapaksas because they have no plan on how to get us out of the economic crisis and if the Rajapaksas go and SJB have to govern they will get kicked out within 6 months by the people.

    • Dear sucker of Ranil, this article is about President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Why are you talking about Sajith? Clearly, you are a fan of Ranil, you don’t know what is relevant. You only concern about Ranil’s position, so you can get some financial benefits from him at the expense of the country.

  6. “I can’t go as a failed president,” says Sri Lanka’s President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

    Good bye citizenry of Sri Lanka, after he is done a Sri Lankan will never be able to raise his/her head or have a future in the country.

    2/3 majority and your racism is bearing fruits of karma and sadly lessons still not learned…

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