After holding out and refusing to resign for over 10 hours on July 9, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe announced on Twitter at 6.43 pm that he would resign. “To ensure the continuation of the Government including the safety of all citizens I accept the best recommendation of the Party Leaders today, to make way for an All-Party Government. To facilitate this I will resign as Prime Minister,” he tweeted.
Technically, he has to hand over the resignation to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. But since Gotabaya’s location is not known, the parties have to negotiate this tricky issue.
Outside Ranil Wickremesinghe’s house, police used water cannons and tear gas to disperse protesters. Earlier, after a meeting of political parties, Harsha de Silva, MP and former Minister, said that the majority of party leaders had agreed that President Gotabaya and ‘PM @ RW_UNP resign immediately’; that the Speaker act as President for a ‘maximum of 30 days’; that the Parliament ‘will elect MP as President for remainder term’; and appoint an ‘interim all-party government and announce elections soon’.
Later, he clarified: “Correction to my earlier tweet on consensus to ask PM and President to resign. No consensus as PM disagrees. Speaker however decided to write to President and PM to resign as per overwhelming request.”
M. A. Sumanthiran, Tamil National Alliance leader and MP, responded: “That’s right. I have suggested that the consensus of the Party Leaders that both Prez and PM should resign and it can also include the caveat that the PM does not agree to this!”
Just an hour later, Ranil Wickremesinghe announced his resignation.