On Thursday, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the president of Sri Lanka was reported to have resigned. This comes after months and protests against him. He had fled Sri Lanka a day before. Rajapaksa oversaw the destruction of Sri Lanka’s agricultural economy and leaves behind a country wracked by inflation and political instability.
He arrived in Singapore as the ex-president on Thursday, having left Sri Lanka by military aircraft to the Maldives on Wednesday. Multiple media outlets reported that his resignation letter, originally due to arrive Wednesday morning, was sent to the Speaker of the Sri Lankan Parliament shortly after he arrived in Singapore.
Before escaping on a military aircraft, Rajapaksa was prevented by the airport staff from leaving Sri Lanka earlier in this week. He is believed to have wanted to flee Sri Lanka to escape detention after his presidency powers expired.
According to the government of Singapore, Rajapaksa was in Singapore on Tuesday. “private visit”And has not requested asylum.
Under Rajapaksa’s leadership, Sri Lanka was driven to bankruptcy, defaulting on its foreign loan debts in May and introducing fuel rationing earlier this 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 attempted to tame rising costs by printing more money, an approach that further accelerated inflation. Sri Lanka was also deprived of the vital income it needed to purchase fuel and food.
After months of demonstrations and cabinet reshuffling, the protest movement against Rajapaksa came to a head last week when a mob of protesters stormed the president’s residence, prompting the military to whisk him away to safety. The protesters also called for the resignation of Ranil Wickremesinghe, Prime Minister. Over the weekend, his house was set ablaze.
Wickremesinghe has been made acting president, while protesters have since been dispersed by police from his and Rajapaksa’s residences. Local media reports that Wickremesinghe’s party will nominate Wickremesinghe to be the PM, and Rajapaksa will head a temporary government until new elections.
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