May 25, 2024

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Sri Lanka’s president resigns after fleeing protests in crisis-stricken country | Sri Lanka

Gotabaya Rajapaksa resigned from the post of president Sri Lanka One day after weeks of fleeing mass protests over the country’s economic crisis.

Rajapaksa’s office said his resignation letter was received by the country’s parliament speaker, having been flown from Singapore, Where did the captain flee? through the Maldives.

The spokesman’s office said it would verify the letter, complete all legal formalities and make an official announcement of Rajapaksa’s resignation on Friday.

Rajapaksa’s resignation was reported amid cheers and firecrackers in the streets of Colombo. “I can’t believe it, no Gotabaya any more. This is a great day for the people of Sri Lanka,” said Rubica, 26, who was among those dancing in the streets when the ad broke.

Demonstrators outside the presidential secretariat in Colombo
Demonstrators outside the presidential secretariat in Colombo. Photo: Arun Sankar/AFP/Getty Images

Gotabaya Leave for the Maldives on Wednesday Under cover of darkness, he then went to Singapore, leaving Sri Lanka in political limbo as he refused to resign for more than 36 hours despite his absence.

Many Sri Lankans hold Rajapaksa responsible for pushing Sri Lanka into its worst economic crisis since independence in 1948, resulting in severe shortages of fuel, food and medicine. Besides many members of his politically influential family who held political positions, He is accused of economic mismanagement and the spread of corruption.

Rajapaksa has not directly addressed the people of Sri Lanka since he was evacuated from his home on Saturday morning, ahead of protests in that gather hundreds of thousands of people in Colombo He asks him to step down.

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Muhammad Nasheed, the former president of the Maldives, confirmed the resignation of Rajapaksa, who helped facilitate the president’s escape to the Maldives on Wednesday.

Rashid tweeted: “President GR has resigned. I hope Sri Lanka can now move forward. I believe the President would not have tendered his resignation if he was still in Sri Lanka and afraid to lose his life.”

Rajapaksa had opposed months of his demands to step down, but was forced to resign after protests in Colombo on Saturday culminated in his presidential palace and offices occupied by thousands of protesters.

Demonstrators outside the presidential secretariat in Colombo
Demonstrators outside the presidential secretariat in Colombo. Photo: Arun Sankar/AFP/Getty Images

He had originally set July 13 for his resignation But it was delayed as he seemed to struggle to find a country that would take him and give him a safe haven.

After his arrival on Thursday, the Singapore government made it clear that Rajapaksa was not there to stay. In a swiftly released statement, the foreign ministry clarified that Rajapaksa had been allowed to enter Singapore “on a private visit” and that he had “neither requested asylum nor granted any right of asylum”.

An Indian government spokesman also denied reports that India helped facilitate Rajapaksa’s escape from Sri Lanka.

His final destination is still unclear. There are reports that he will travel onward to Saudi Arabia, but it has not been possible to confirm the authenticity of these reports.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa addresses the United Nations General Assembly in New York in 2021.
Gotabaya Rajapaksa addresses the United Nations General Assembly in New York in 2021. Photo: Justin Lin/EPA

Observers said they assumed his resignation announcement would not come until he reached a destination where protection from prosecution for alleged corruption could be guaranteed. He also faces charges of war crimes since he was commander of the armed forces during Sri Lanka’s civil war.

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Sri Lanka’s military said in a statement on Thursday that Sri Lanka remains in a state of emergency and that it has allowed soldiers to use the necessary force to prevent the destruction of property and lives.

In Rajapaksa’s absence, he had appointed the Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, to be the “acting president” with full executive powers. But this was rejected by protesters who also called for Wickremesinghe to resign over accusations that he had helped support the Gotabaya Rajapaksa regime, protecting the Rajapaksa family for years.

Protesters pose for a group selfie while returning the Prime Minister's office to government authorities
Protesters pose for a group selfie while returning the Prime Minister’s Office to government authorities. Photo: Abhishek Chinapa/Getty Images

On Wednesday, protesters forced their way through a thick wall of police, army and heavy tear gas and took over Wickremesinghe’s offices, calling for his immediate resignation as prime minister and interim president.

But with Rajapaksa’s resignation likely to become official by Friday, according to the constitution, it is Wickremesinghe who will officially replace him. He could be sworn in as the new president on the same day, although he will likely only hold the position for a few days.

Parliament is scheduled to meet again in the coming days and power is due to be handed over to a new “unity government” made up of several political parties, which will decide on the selection of a new prime minister. Members of Parliament will then vote to choose a new president on July 20.

On Thursday morning, the protesters said that they had peacefully handed over the government buildings they had occupied, including the president’s residential palace, the prime minister’s offices and the official residence, in order to maintain peace.

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Swasthika Arulingam, the spokesperson for the popular movement known as the Aragalaya, was condemning the actions recently taken by those leading the country. “For the past three days, these politicians have acted as if this country is their own,” she said. It is not their private property and they have put our country in danger, and they have put our national security at risk.

She said the protesters will occupy the president’s administrative office in the Galle Face district of Colombo as a symbol of their continued call for systemic political change. The Secretariat was converted into a public library, where people were encouraged to donate books. Some books claimed from the official residence of the Prime Minister, Temple Trees, are among the collection.

Despite Thursday’s curfew, the library was still packed with dozens of quietly reading people, including 22-year-old Pradeep Madhushan. “Our protest is not only to bring down our corrupt leaders, it is about knowledge, education and awareness,” he said. “That’s why we keep this library here for the people.”