- by GI Magazine
- Sep 15, 2022
COLOMBO, July 11 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa announced his resignation on Wednesday. According to the speaker of parliament, following Saturday's massive rallies and a crippling economic crisis tens of demonstrators were surrounded by both men's official houses on Monday. The prime minister's office said that Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had notified Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe that he would be stepping down. However, Rajapaksa has not publicly stated his intentions. Wickremesinghe has declared that he too will stand down to make way for an all-party temporary administration.
On Monday, hundreds of visitors wandered into the president's secretariat and mansion in Colombo, Sri Lanka's capital city, and took tours of the colonial-era structures. Crowds shall continue to occupy the president's and prime minister's Colombo mansions, according to protest movement leaders, until they resigned from their positions. No one attempted to be stopped by police. Jude Hansana, who had remained at a protest location outside the home since early April, declared, "We are not going anywhere until this president quits and we get a government that is acceptable to the people. "People are fighting for more comprehensive political reforms. Not simply for the president to go. This is only the beginning."
Dushantha Gunasinghe, another protester, urged that due to fuel crux he traveled from a town 130 km away from Colombo by walking part of the way. He said he finally reached on Monday morning, "I came alone all this way because I believe we need to see this through. This government needs to go home and we need better leaders." When the protestors barged into the buildings, Rajapaksa and Wickremesinghe weren't at home. The source claims that they haven't been seen in public since Friday and are unaware of their whereabouts. Three suspects have been detained, according to police, after setting fire to Wickremesinghe's private residence in a wealthy Colombo district.
The next step, according to constitutional experts, would be for the speaker to be the interim president of parliament. Until they vote for a new president within 30 days to fill Rajapaksa's term, which is set to expire in 2024. Rajapaksa has received the majority of the blame from common Sri Lankans for the demise of the tourism-based economy, which was severely damaged by the COVID-19 pandemic and a ban on chemical fertilizers that was later lifted.
The Rajapaksa regime's extravagant tax breaks and increasing debt has ruined the government's finances. As oil prices increased, foreign currency reserves were swiftly drained. Long line-ups have formed in front of stores selling cooking gas since the nation hardly has enough money left to import the heavily rationed fuel. The 22 million-person nation's headline inflation rate was 54.6 percent last month, and the central bank has issued a warning that it may increase to 70 percent in the upcoming months, says the source.