The Sunday Times has reported that Gotabaya Rajapaksa has no plans to return to politics in Sri Lanka, according to sources close to him.
However, he is asking for security and a home. As some media channels reported, several rounds of negotiations were also held regarding this, even with President Ranil Wickremesinghe.
The house Gotabaya is requesting could be where former President Mahinda Rajapaksa currently resides. As Mahinda’s house at Wijerama Mawatha is to be improved at a cost of Rs. 400 million, he currently lives in a ministerial official residence instead. There are discussions going on that when Mahinda moves back to Wijerama once the improvements are done, he should give this ministerial residence to Gotabaya.
According to the law, there are some privileges that a former president receives. Security and a house are among those privileges. But the question is whether Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who did not finish his term, will receive those privileges.
On the other hand, Ranil Wickremesinghe is presenting legal arguments to refuse Gotabaya’s request, according to the Mawrata newspaper. Ranil Wickremesinghe has quoted a story about former Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva and said that if Gotabaya is given a house, legal issues may arise.
Ranil says that he can provide security for Gotabaya’s house at Mirihana if necessary. Mawrata has reported that there was even a telephone discussion between Ranil and Gotabaya. Even though Premadasa, a former president, was assassinated before the end of his term, it cannot be forgotten that his wife, Hema Premadasa, enjoyed certain privileges. Accordingly, what a President gets without completing the term is still a matter of debate. Sarath N. Silva’s argument was that just as any government employee loses their privileges if they leave the service before retirement, so does Gotabaya. A basis of this argument is that in the case of death, the situation is different.