Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has been appointed as interim President after President Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled abroad, Parliament Speaker Mahinda Yappa Abeywardana announced in a televised address on Wednesday. Earlier, the Prime Minister’s Office had declared a state of emergency in the country, which is in the grip of a severe economic and political crisis.
Police have declared an indefinite curfew in the western province of Colombo, the economic capital, to control the protests.
Thousands of people gathered outside the Prime Minister’s office on Wednesday. As they occupied the presidential palace on Saturday, security forces fired tear gas to prevent them from entering the building.
He was appointed Prime Minister in May by the President of Sri Lanka to replace his own brother, Mahinda Rajapaksa. Mr. Wickramasinghe has also been challenged by the protestors. On Wednesday, Mr. At the same time Rajapakse resigned, the crowd demanded his resignation. “Go home Ranil!” Go home Goda! »shouted the demonstrators.
Mr. Rajapaksa, Energized by a strong people’s movement, landed in the Maldives early Wednesday morning after leaving his country on a military plane. The 73-year-old leader, He promised to step down on Wednesday, has not yet formalized the withdrawal. The constitution provides that in the event of the resignation of the president, the prime minister will assume the interim role until the end of the current mandate, i.e. until the election of a deputy parliament that will hold power until November 2024.
Cote is in talks with the International Monetary Fund
Mr. Rajapaksa tried to leave Sri Lanka on Tuesday but was turned away by immigration officials at the Colombo airport. Immigration officials said he took off from Colombo International Airport with his wife and a bodyguard in the early hours of Wednesday on an Antonov An-32. Sources at the Sri Lanka Airport said the plane was held up on the airport tarmac for over an hour for clearance to land in the Maldives.
A naval vessel was used on Saturday to transfer the head of state from the presidential palace, which was besieged by protesters, to the port of Trincomalee in the country’s northeast. Later, on Monday by helicopter at the Colombo International Airport, Mr.
In the leak, the Sri Lankan president left behind a suitcase full of documents and 17.85 million rupees (49,000 euros) in cash, now sealed.
Mr. Rajapaksa has been accused of mismanaging the economy and is responsible for the country’s inability to finance the most essential imports for a population of 22 million, due to lack of foreign currency. Cote defaulted on its $51 billion foreign debt in April and is in talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a possible bailout.
Sri Lanka has also almost exhausted its petrol reserves. The government has ordered the closure of non-essential offices and schools to reduce travel and save fuel.
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