President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's name appeared in the latest quarterly publication of the US Federal Register of individuals who have chosen to renounce their US citizenship.
The publication which was issued today can be viewed at the official website of the US Federal Register.
During the days leading up to the last presidential election, the issue of then SLPP presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa's US citizenship became a hot topic.
Since the Constitution of Sri Lanka does not allow a dual citizenship holder to run for the office of the President or even to be elected as an MP, many political opponents and activities questioned the authenticity of Mr. Rajapaksa renouncing his US citizenship when his name did not appear in several quarterly Federal Register publications.
However, Mr. Rajapaksa continued to hold his ground and said he legitimately renounced the US citizenship on April 17 last year and was issued a new passport by the Sri Lankan Immigration and Emigration Department mentioning he is a Sri Lankan citizen.
Mr. Rajapaksa said that he received the official document pertaining to the renunciation of his US citizenship from the US State Department on April 26.
However, since his name was not mentioned in several quarterly Federal Register publications leading up to the Presidential Election, political opponents and activists continued to question the authenticity of Mr. Rajapaksa foregoing his US citizenship.
In this backdrop, the US Embassy including the US Ambassador on several occasions said the name of someone who renounced US citizenship may not appear in the immediate next Federal Register publication.
They said it could take months for a name of someone chosen to renounce US citizenship to appear in the publication.
Ambassador Alaina B.Teplitz once said that the Federal Register could often be months behind the recording of one’s renunciation of citizenship.
Further, confirming President Rajapaksa renouncing his US citizenship, when contacted today, a spokesperson of the US Embassy said, "I can confirm that Gotabaya Rajapaksa renounced his US citizenship in April 2019 and is no longer a US citizen." (Lahiru Pothmulla)
The official website of the US Federal Register