Mahinda Rajapaksa has resigned as Sri Lanka’s prime minister, seven weeks after he was appointed in a surprise move by the president.
During a ceremony at his house, Rajapaksa signed a letter of resignation, putting an end to the nearly two-month power struggle that has shaken the country’s political stability.
In a subsequent address, the 73-year-old leader said he was stepping down to allow President Maithripala Sirisena to form a new government.
Ranil Wickremesinghe, who was ousted by the president, is set to return as the prime minister after taking oath on Sunday.
Sri Lanka plunged in political turmoil since October when President Sirisena sacked Wickremesinghe, replacing him with Rajapaksa. He later dissolved the Parliament, almost 20 months before its term was to end and ordered a snap election. Refusing to step down, Wickremesinghe launched a challenge in the court and in the Parliament.
President Sirisena’s attempt to appoint Rajapaksa as prime minister was thwarted on Thursday when the Supreme Court ruled that the dissolution of Parliament had been unconstitutional.
“I have no intention of remaining as prime minister without holding a general election,” Rajapaksa said in his statement when announcing his resignation. His son said a day earlier that the move was to “ensure the stability of the nation.”