Special Statement: NO more Presidential Flag

Special Statement: NO more Presidential Flag, & NO more use of 'His Excellency' to address President

by Zulfick Farzan 15-07-2022 | 2:12 PM

COLOMBO (News 1st); Sri Lanka's Acting President Ranil Wickremesinghe has stressed his commitment to protecting law and order, democracy, and the constitution of the country.

"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 said the 19th Amendment to the constitution should be implemented again in its entirety, and the necessary groundwork will be implemented.

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

"Rather than protecting individuals, protect the country," he noted adding that the country must exist to live and engage in politics.

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

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

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. It is reported that some are attempting to mount pressure on MPs when they meet in Parliament for the election of a new President. These MPs will be given full security. No group will be allowed to ruin Parliamentary democracy," he said.

"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," said the Acting President.

FULL STATEMENT: President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has resigned from office. In accordance with the Constitution, the Parliament will meet next week and take steps to elect a new President. In that short period of time, I have been entrusted with the responsibility of temporarily acting as the President. I hope to take some urgent steps in this short period of time. The people of the country expect a change in the political system. An important factor for this change is the full implementation of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. Therefore, I have started the program to bring forth the necessary drafts to the Parliament to fully re-implement the 19th Amendment. Immediate steps will be taken to re-establish law and order in the country. I fully accept the right to peacefully protest, but others are now trying to sabotage these protests. It has been reported that outside groups are Preparing to try and influence the Members of Parliament during the election of the new President in Parliament next week. We must create the environment for MPs so that can express their opinion independently. They will be provided with full protection. We will not allow any group to destroy the democracy in Parliament. Also, there are groups that are trying to set the country on fire through fascist methods by suppressing democracy. Two weapons belonging to the security forces along with bullets were stolen by such persons near Parliament. Twenty-four members of the army have been injured, two of them have been seriously injured today. It is my belief that real fighters do not do such acts. There is a big difference between rebels and protesters. Many people who have been involved in the struggle since the beginning have expressed their opposition to these acts of sabotage. We are bound to ensure they are protected by law and order. We are obliged uphold democracy. I am bound to protect the constitution. I will never allow anything unconstitutional to take place in our country. I am not working outside the constitution. If law and order breaks down, it will affect our economy. Like fuel, our electricity and water supply as well as our food supply can be disrupted. We all need to understand this dangerous situation. In order to maintain law and order, I have appointed a special committee consisting of the Chief of the Defense Staff, the Inspector General of Police and the commanders of the three armed forces. They have been given full freedom to take legal action without any political interference. We emphasized the government's position on the establishment of an all-party government in the party leaders' meeting held last Monday. I request all parties in the Parliament to reach a common agreement for that immediately. These political parties should put aside their differences and opinions and come together for the sake of the country. So put aside your personal ambitions. Put the needs of the country first. Think about protecting the country rather than protecting individuals. We must have a country to live and do politics. I request all political parties and groups to think about our country, and to think about the people of the country when they act. First, let's save the country and the people from this current crisis. Then we can turn to party politics. As Acting President, I will take two more decisions. The use of the word "His Excellency" to introduce the President is officially prohibited. As well as the presidential flag will be abolished. A country should have only one flag. Only the national flag. One should move forward under the shade of one flag. Meditate and think deeply about this situation we are facing today. Now the background has been set for a new journey with a different approach to the whole country. The opportunities for creating a peaceful and prosperous society free from corruption have been set in place. The scope of raising our motherland up has expanded. It is the duty and responsibility of all of us to make the most of it. Let us all give full strength and full support to start a new era and a new system. Finally, I would like to mention one more thing. About two months ago today, on May 13, I took a serious decision for the country. I took that serious decision thinking about the two million people of this country. Until the Pqrliament appoints a new president, that decision will be carried out for the country. I am constitutionally bound to carry out that decision.