Sri Lankan PM to step down amid economic meltdown — Analysis

Ranil Wickremesinghe told party leaders that he’ll resign immediately, after President Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled his palace

Ranil Wickremesinghe the Sri Lankan Prime Minister stated to party leaders Saturday that he would be willing to stand down in order to allow for a new government. After President Gotabaya Rajapaksa ran from his home, a mob stormed the house and forced him to leave.

Wickremesinghe’s office announced the news in a statement, around two hours after the PM sat down with political leaders to seek a resolution to the political crisis gripping the South Asian nation. With Wickremesinghe no longer in power, Wickremesinghe’s office will probably become the acting prime minster until elections take place. 

Wickremesinghe’s term in office was a short one, beginning in mid-May when he replaced  Mahinda Rajapaksa, brother of current President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Even though protestors stormed his Colombo home earlier Saturday, the president has not yet resigned.

Protesters storm president’s residence

Rajapaska’s whereabouts remain unknown. This has been demanded by several lawmakers.

Sri Lanka is in turmoil for many months. Food and fuel are in shortage and prices have soared. For the first time, Sri Lanka defaulted in May on its foreign debt. In Sri Lanka, fuel rationing was implemented earlier in the month. Armed police officers and soldiers have been a regular sight at petrol stations. 

Sri Lanka’s financial crisis can be partly attributed to the Covid-19 pandemic, which saw the island nation losing vital tourism revenue. High government spending and tax cuts then depleted state coffers, and the state’s attempts to pay off foreign bonds by increasing money-printing led to soaring inflation.

Protests began outside Wickremesinghe’s house shortly after Wickremesinghe stated his desire to resign. Riot police were reported to have used tear gas against protestors. 

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