SRI LANKA: Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa sent his resignation letter via email to the Speaker of Parliament on Thursday, days after protesters stormed the presidential palace and demanded his resignation. The Speaker can now call an extraordinary session of Parliament within the next three days.
Rajapaksa, who fled Sri Lanka after intense protests, handed over the country’s reins to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. The PM, as acting president, declared a state of emergency after the protests.
Anti-government protesters have announced they will vacate some administrative buildings, including the President’s house and the PM’s office, which they have occupied since April 9, demanding Rajapaksa’s ouster.
Meanwhile, Acting President Wickremesinghe has already told the Speaker to call on party leaders to appoint a new Prime Minister based on consensus.
Rajapaksa had announced to step down on July 13 after thousands of protesters stormed his official residence, blaming him for the unprecedented economic crisis that has brought the country down.
As per Sri Lankan Constitution, if both president and the Prime Minister resign, the Speaker of Parliament will serve as acting president for a maximum of 30 days. Parliament is expected to name a new full-time president next week.
Rajapaksa, who fled Sri Lanka with his wife on Wednesday, has been allowed into Singapore for a private visit. According to Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Rajapaksa neither applied for nor was granted asylum.
Meanwhile, at least 45 people were hospitalised following a standoff between police and protesters who stormed Rajapaksa-alla Wickremesinghe’s office. Local media said the 26-year-old protester, who was hospitalised after being tear gassed, died of respiratory problems, Reuters reported.
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