Sri Lanka crisis: PM Ranil Wickremesinghe resigns to make way for all-party govt
| Updated: Saturday, July 9, 2022, 19:22 [IST]
Colombo, July 9: Amid thousands of protesters breaking through police barricades and storming into President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's official residence, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has resigned to make way for an all-party government.
He took Twitter to announce his decision to step down as the Sri Lankan PM. "To ensure the continuation of the Government including the safety of all citizens I accept the best recommendation of the Party Leaders today, to make way for an All-Party Government," he tweeted.Sri Lanka's PM Ranil Wickremesinghe
PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said he has informed the President that an all-party government must be formed while stressing that there is a fuel crisis in the country, a food shortage and the World Food Program Director is due to arrive in the country.
"When this Government resigns, it is essential that another Government be ready to immediately assume duties to ensure stability. It must be ensured that economic recovery such as the IMF discussions are not hindered," the PMO said in a statement.
It comes at a time when embattled Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's whereabouts were not known after he was moved out of his residence on Friday.
Lmao people actually made the president pack his suitcase and run for his life😂😂
#GoHomeGota #අරගලයටජය #GoHomeRanil pic.twitter.com/gw7Zkr1I5a
Rajapaksa, who was facing calls for resignation since March, was using the President's House as his residence and office since protesters came to occupy the entrance to his office early April. According to sources, the President had been moved out of his residence on Friday, in anticipation of Saturday's protests.
Reports have surfaced that luggage was rushed on to the Sri Lanka Navy Ship Gajabahu anchored at the Colombo Port, News 1st channel reported on Saturday.
Inside President's House. #SriLanka #SriLankaProtests pic.twitter.com/e49jeDIldv— Jamila Husain (@Jamz5251) July 9, 2022
"The Harbour Master at the Colombo Port said that a group boarded the SLNS Sindurala and SLNS Gajabahu and left the port," it added. He said he cannot provide details of the manifest or about those who boarded the vessels, the channel said.
Sri Lanka Economic Crisis: Protestors Storm Presidential Palace in Colombo; Take a Swim in Pool and Explore the Kitchen (Watch Video)#SriLankaEconomicCrisis #SirLankaProtestors #PresidentGotabayRajapaksa #PresidentialPalace #Colombo # pic.twitter.com/SSmxIRdtKU— Mohammad fasahathullah siddiqui (@MdFasahathullah) July 9, 2022
Earlier, a viral video on social media showed a VIP motorcade reaching the Colombo international airport where a SriLanka Airlines aircraft was parked. At least 30 people, including two policemen, were injured in clashes between security personnel and protesters - some of them holding Sri Lankan flags and helmets - who had gathered in large numbers in the Fort area, demanding President Rajapaksa's resignation.
Protesters who climbed the walls of the President's House are now occupying it without damaging any property or indulging in acts of violence. Video footage from inside the building showed hundreds of protesters packing into rooms and corridors, while hundreds also milled around the grounds outside.
Some video clips showed scores of people taking a dip in the presidential palace pool. A group of his own parliamentarians have addressed a letter to President Rajapaksa, urging him to step down and appoint a new Prime Minister and an all-party government.
Sri Lanka, a country of 22 million, is under the grip of an unprecedented economic turmoil, the worst in seven decades, crippled by an acute shortage of foreign exchange that has left it struggling to pay for essential imports of fuel, and other essentials.