After months of upheaval, Sri Lanka’s president, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, finally announced his resignation on Thursday. Videos that surfaced on social media document how the locals celebrated and danced in response to the news.
However, Rajapaksa’s resignation will be formally announced on Friday at 7.30am, according to a special announcement by Parliament Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena (local time). Prior to making the announcement, Abeywardena said it was important to verify the accuracy of Rajapaksa’s resignation email and other procedures.
Much to the dismay of the demonstrators, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has been named interim President while Rajapaksa is away. They have long sought the resignation of both leaders, and on Wednesday, when the PM assumed the presidency, there was fresh unrest around the country. Some of the crowd ascended the building as they entered Wickremesinghe’s office and waved the Sri Lankan flag. Police fired many rounds of tear gas shells in an effort to stop this, but to no avail.
Sri Lanka Singaporean Connection
Rajapaksa has been allowed entry for a private visit, the Singaporean foreign ministry declared in response to rumours regarding his whereabouts. In a statement, the ministry asserted that Singapore had never asked nor granted “asylum” to Rajapaksa. Singapore “typically does not approve claims for refuge,” the statement continued. Rajapaksa departed his country on Wednesday and arrived in Male, Maldives.
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Shortly after Rajapaksa arrived, Sri Lankans living in the Maldives protested against his entrance; it was later made known that Rajapaksa would first travel to Singapore and then Saudi Arabia. Singapore may or may not be the final stop for Sri Lanka’s incoming president.
Abeywardena got an email from Rajapaksa on Thursday night announcing his resignation. The speaker had already been advised that he will leave on Wednesday.
The population back home has openly called for Rajapaksa’s punishment over claims that he mismanaged the country’s economy, therefore his choice to depart the country is now seen as a safety net. Presidents of Sri Lanka are not subject to arrest while in office.
Military soldiers tightened security at Parliament as protesters who had earlier in the day taken control of several government buildings retreated. As a result, the island nation grew quiet.
Sri Lanka Indian Connection
India confirmed on Thursday that it was keeping an eye on the situation there and emphasised that their relations are extensive and historically based.
India has previously provided supplies to Sri Lanka to help the country cope with the effects of the greatest economic crisis. The announcement came a day after the Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka denied as “speculative” and “baseless” suggestions in the media that India had helped Rajapaksa flee to another country.
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