SL: Wickremesinghe prohibits use of ‘His Excellency’ to address President

Colombo: Sri Lanka’s interim President Ranil Wickremesinghe on Friday decided to prohibit the use of the word ‘His Excellency’ to address the President and abolished the presidential flag, as he underlined his commitment to protecting democracy and the Constitution of the crisis-hit country.

Rather than protecting individuals, protect the country, Wickremesinghe, who is also the prime minister, said after he was sworn in as Sri Lanka’s acting president until Parliament elects a successor to Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who resigned after protests against his government for mishandling the economy that bankrupted the country.

He said as the acting President he decided to prohibit the use of the word His Excellency’ when addressing the President.

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He also said that the presidential flag will be abolished as the country must gather around only one flag, which is the national flag.

I will never pave the way for, or aid in any unconstitutional act, he said in a special televised statement, adding the collapse in law and order will negatively impact the country’s economy.

He warned that the supply chain of food, electricity, and water may be disrupted, and the people must understand the dangerous situation ahead.

He said a special committee has been appointed with the Chief of Defence Staff, Inspector General of Police, and Commanders of the three-armed forces to maintain law and order in the country with zero political intervention.

He called on the politicians to cast aside their ambitions, and think about the country.

Commenting on the protests that have been taking place in the country, Wickremesinghe said that immediate measures will be taken to maintain the law and peace in the country.

Peaceful protests are accepted, however, there are some engaged in acts of sabotage…There are fascist groups that are trying to incite violence in the country. Such groups snatched weapons and ammunition from the soldiers recently. 24 soldiers have been injured and two of them are in critical condition, he said.

Sri Lanka, a country of 22 million people, is under the grip of an unprecedented economic turmoil, the worst in seven decades, leaving millions struggling to buy food, medicine, fuel and other essentials.

The citizens protested for months to press for the resignation of the government led by Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

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