Sri Lankan president caught fleeing country – reports — Analysis
According to sources, Gotabayarajapaksa tried to travel from India but was turned away by the airport personnel.
According to AFP reports, the airport refused to stamp Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s passport on Monday. The incident prevented Rajapaksa, soon-to be president, from traveling to Dubai. Rajapaksa, who was driven from power by protests massive in Sri Lankan, is believed to be looking for another way of escape.
Immigration officers refused to enter the VIP suite at Bandaranaike International Airport to stamp Rajapaksa’s passport for exit, AFP’s sources said. Rajapaksa’s wife, who had missed four flights to United Arab Emirates, refused to wait in line with the public to avoid reprisals and spent Monday night at a military base nearby.
A similar attempt at escape was made by Rajapaksa’s younger brother, Basil, who served as his older sibling’s finance minister until April. According to AFP’s sources, Basil Rajapaksa was prevented from using the airport’s fast-track boarding lane, and left the airport after passengers began protesting.
On Saturday, President Rajapaksa declared that he will resign on Wednesday. He is currently not subject to arrest. It is thought that he fled to avoid being arrested once his resignation takes effect. According to officials, he may be considering taking either an Indian or Maldivian Navy vessel from Sri Lanka.
Rajapaksa’s resignation came after months of protests. His leadership has led to Sri Lanka’s bankruptcy. The country defaulted on foreign loans in May, and fuel rationing was introduced earlier in the month. The economic turmoil has been blamed on a loss of tourism revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic, and a climate-motivated ban on chemical fertilizers that halved the country’s agricultural output in a matter of months.
Rajapaksa’s government responded to rising costs by printing more money, further accelerating inflation. Sri Lanka was also hit with tax reductions, which deprived it of the vital income required to import fuel and food.
As protesters forced their way into Rajapaksa’s presidential palace on Saturday, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told opposition party leaders that he too would step down after just two months in office. If Rajapaksa does not resign on Wednesday as expected, Wickremesinghe, according to Sri Lankan law will assume the presidency until parliament chooses a successor and until an all-party interim government is formed.
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