Colombo: “I served my motherland to the best of my ability and I will continue to do so in the future,” former Sri Lankan president Gotabaya Rajapaksa has said, as he defended himself in his resignation letter which was read out during a special session of Parliament on Saturday. Sri Lanka’s Parliament met briefly to announce the vacancy in the presidency following the resignation of Rajapaksa, who fled to the country on Wednesday after a popular uprising against him for mishandling the country’s economic crisis.
The resignation letter sent by Rajapaksa from Singapore was read during the 13-minute special session. In his resignation letter, Rajapksa, 73, blamed the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown for Sri Lanka’s economic woes.
Rajapaksa said he took the best steps like trying to form an all-party government to counter the economic meltdown. “I served my motherland to the best of my ability and I will continue to do so in the future,” he said in the letter.
He pointed out that within 3 months of his presidency, the whole world came to be hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. “I took action to protect people from the pandemic despite being constrained by the already poor economic environment that prevailed at the time,” he said. “During 2020 and 2021 I was compelled to order lockdowns and the foreign exchange situation deteriorated. In my view, I took the best course of action by suggesting an all-party or a national government to tackle the situation,” Rajapaksa said.
“I decided to resign as you indicated to me on July 9 the wish of the party leaders,” he said in the letter. “I resign with effect from July 14,” the letter read. Rajapaksa fled to the Maldives on Wednesday and then landed in Singapore on Thursday after it allowed him to enter the country on a “private visit.” Singapore’s Foreign Ministry said that Rajapaksa has not asked for asylum and neither has he been granted any asylum.