Sri Lanka’s disputed prime minister resigns to end impasse


COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) – Sri Lanka’s disputed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa has resigned, saying he wants to end a political impasse over his appointment.

Rajapaksa signed his letter of resignation Saturday, flanked by lawmakers of his party and blessed by Buddhist and other religious leaders in the presence of media.

It is not immediately clear if the letter has been handed over to President Maithripala Sirisena. Rajapaksa is expected to deliver an address to the nation later Saturday in which he is expected to explain his resignation.

Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena, a lawmaker close to Rajapaksa, told reporters on Friday that he has decided to step down to end a crisis that began in October when Sirisena sacked Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and appointed Rajapaksa in his place.

Parliament twice rejected his appointment.

FILE – In this Nov. 29,2018, file photo, Sri Lanka’s disputed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, gestures as he arrives for a meeting with his supporting lawmakers at the parliamentary complex in Colombo, Sri Lanka. A Sri Lankan lawmaker said that the disputed Prime Minister Rajapaksa will resign Saturday to end the country’s political crisis. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena, File)