ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s former president Gotabaya Rajapaksa who fled the country on July 13 amid strong public protests returned to Colombo later on Friday amid tight security, sources said, after seven weeks of his resignation.
Rajapaksa fled from his residence on July 9, fearing for his life as thousands of protesters stormed into the presidential palace, demanding him to resign for his failed economic and agricultural policies.
“He will not involved in politics despite many of the party members expect him to start politics again,” a source from the ruling Sri Lanka Podhujana Peremuna (SLPP) told EconomyNext after confirming his arrival.
“Many core party members are also against the former president coming into parliament using the national list. They do not want him to become the leader again,” the source said.
“He has not committed any crimes. So, he has all the rights to return to the country and all privileges as the former president.”
Rajapaksa is given special security, government sources said.
Rajapaksa banned chemical fertilizer overnight in April 2021 citing that the country should go only for organic fertilizers while he failed to implement proper economic policies. People started street protest against him in March and continued until he resigned after his economic policies including trillions of rupees of money printing resulted in shortage of essentials like fuel, cooking gas, foods, and medicines.
He fled to Maldives first on July 13 and then next day went to Singapore where he announced his resignation.
The country is facing a severe food crisis after he banned agrochemicals and the financial crisis which later forced the authorities to declare sovereign debt default because of his failure to implement appropriate policies.
Opposition legislator and five times prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was appointed as the prime minister by Rajapaksa on May 12 and later Wickremesinghe was elected as the president through a parliament vote on July 20. (Colombo/Sept03/2022)