President of crisis-hit Sri Lanka confirms he will quit amid protests

President of crisis-hit Sri Lanka confirms he will quit amid protests

Gotabaya Rajapaksa has informed Sri Lanka’s prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, that he will resign, probably this week.

President Rajapaksa, under pressure to resign as Sri Lanka, faces its worst economic crisis on record, signaled over the weekend his intention to resign on 13 July but has not addressed the public or submitted a resignation letter.

President of crisis-hit Sri Lanka confirms he will quit amid protests

Rajapaksa has informed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe of his resignation, his office said.

The president’s whereabouts were unknown when the announcement was made. Since being removed from his home and placed under military protection on Friday, he has not been seen.

The president’s resignation follows mass protests on Saturday when hundreds of thousands of people descended on Colombo and overran Rajapaksa’s house and office, demanding he steps down immediately.

Rajapaksa has been president since November 2019 and is accused of corruption, economic mismanagement, and bankruptcy in the country. Sri Lanka’s foreign currency reserves have run dry, according to the UN, and the country is facing a humanitarian crisis.

Wickremesinghe agreed to resign Saturday once an all-party government could take over. The five-time former prime minister, in office since May, was criticized for failing to improve the country’s dire situation and propping up the Rajapaksa presidency. Saturday night, protesters burned Wickremesinghe’s home.

Protesters have occupied the president and prime minister’s official properties, claiming them as public property and saying they won’t leave until both resign.

Sunday, opposition leaders met to form a new unity government and choose a new prime minister and president.

The caretaker government will last six to eight months until Sri Lanka’s situation improves and parliamentary elections are economically feasible.

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