Speaker Nasheed: Pres GR resigned, hope Sri Lanka can now move forward

Parliament Speaker Mohamed Nasheed and Gotabaya Rajapaksa - pictured in 2011 at the President's Office. (President's Office)

 Parliament Speaker and former President Mohamed Nasheed on Thursday commented on the resignation of Sri Lanka’s President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

In the statement made via Twitter, Nasheed stated that Rajapaksa has resigned, and went on express hope that Sri Lanka can now “move forward.”


Nasheed also said that it was his belief that had Rajapaksa remained in Sri Lanka, he would not have resigned.

He added that Rajapaksa was fearful of losing his life.

In addition to this, he commanded the ‘thoughtful actions’ of the Maldivian government, which seems to be directed at allowing Rajapaksa to transit through Maldives while he fled.

In concluding his statement, Nasheed sent his best wishes to the people of Sri Lanka.

Rajapaksa sent in his resignation after fleeing due to the ongoing protests in his country.

He secretly arrived in Maldives early Wednesday, on an AN32 troop transport plane from the Sri Lanka Air Force, following earlier failed attempts to depart to Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. He was accompanied by his wife and two security personnel.

“Pursuant to the request of the government and in accordance with the powers vested in a President in the Constitution of Sri Lanka, the Sri Lanka air force provided a plane early today to fly the President, his wife and two security officials to the Maldives,” Sri Lankan air force confirmed in a statement on Wednesday.

He has now departed Maldives to Singapore as reported by Associated Press citing a Maldivian government official who spoke to the media outlet on the condition of anonymity confirmed that President Rajapaksa boarded a flight of Saudi Arabian Airlines on Thursday, bound for Singapore. Associated Press said that the Sri Lankan president is set to transit at Singapore, before moving on to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile, the Sri Lankan media outlet, Daily Mirror said that President Rajapaksa was escorted by security officers of the Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF).

Some media outlets have reported that President Rajapaksa left Maldives in a private jet. The media stressed having learned of the private jet’s landing at Velana International Airport this morning.

While no Maldivian government authority officially commented on Rajapaksa’s arrival Sri Lankans residing in Maldives protested in the capital Male’ City on Wednesday evening following reports of their president’s arrival.

Prior to fleeing, he named Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as acting president in his absence, further incensing those who blame the government for the crisis.

Sri Lanka’s Presidents are granted immunity from arrest while in power, and it is likely why he planned his escape while still holding constitutional immunity.