Colombo, Sri Lanka – The man who paved the way for the Rajapaksa dynasty’s dominance over Sri Lankan politics has no plans to flee the country, like two of his brothers did, according to a top aide of the former strongman.Mahinda’s younger brother, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, escaped to the Maldives on Wednesday after thousands of protesters stormed his residence last week.
He reportedly flew to Singapore in a Saudi plane on Thursday as the nation awaits his resignation.
Another brother and former finance minister, Basil Rajapaksa, also left the country this week as the political unrest intensified.
But former President and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, the 76-year-old patriarch of the powerful clan, has no such plans, said one of his top aides.
Mahinda’s eldest son, former minister Namal, has already publicly stated that he would not leave the country as it battles its worst economic meltdown since 1948 – a crisis largely blamed on over two decades of Rajapaksa rule.
“They both have clearly said they would not leave Sri Lanka, but Mahinda Rajapaksa is really sad about the situation,” the aide who wished to remain anonymous, told Al Jazeera on Thursday.
Mahinda, who entered politics in 1970, became Sri Lanka’s fifth executive president in 2005 after a closely-fought battle with another veteran, current Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
Mahinda’s presidency …