Home » Sri Lanka crisis: President Gotabaya Rajapaksa flees to Maldives

Sri Lanka crisis: President Gotabaya Rajapaksa flees to Maldives



oi-Deepika S

| Updated: Wednesday, July 13, 2022, 8:28 [IST]

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Colombo, July 13: Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who is due to offer his resignation on Wednesday, flew out of his country to the Maldives early Wednesday following months of protests demanding his removal from the role of the president.

File photo of Gotabaya Rajapaksa File photo of Gotabaya Rajapaksa

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, his wife and two bodyguards left aboard in a Sri Lankan Air Force plane bound for the city of Male, the capital of the Maldives. Quoting Maldivian sources, reports said he was received by a Maldivian government representation at the Velana airport.

On Wednesday, Gotabaya Rajapaksa had indicated he would not resign till his family got a safe exit from the country.

Earlier, Basil, the youngest brother of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, was reportedly stopped from fleeing the country on Monday.The airport immigration officials did not permit him to leave the country following protests from the passengers, Daily Mirror reported.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said he would leave once a new government was in place.

Sri Lanka crisis: UN calls for dialogue to ensure 'smooth transition’ of govtSri Lanka crisis: UN calls for dialogue to ensure 'smooth transition’ of govt

Lawmakers agreed to elect a new president next week but struggled Tuesday to decide on the makeup of a new government to lift the bankrupt country out of economic and political collapse.

The promised resignations brought no end to the crisis - and the protesters have vowed to occupy the official buildings until their top leaders are gone.

For days, people have flocked to the presidential palace almost as if it were a tourist attraction - swimming in the pool, marveling at the paintings and lounging on the beds piled high with pillows. At one point, they also burned the prime minister's private home.

While lawmakers agreed late Monday to elect a new president from their ranks on July 20, they have not yet decided who will take over as prime minister and fill the Cabinet.

The new president will serve the remainder of Rajapaksa's term, which ends in 2024 - and could potentially appoint a new prime minister, who would then have to be approved by Parliament.

The prime minster is to serve as president until a replacement is chosen - an arrangement that is sure to further anger protesters who want Wickremesinghe out immediately.

Corruption and mismanagement have left the island nation laden with debt, unable to pay for imports of basic necessities, causing despair among its 22 million people.

The protesters have vowed to wait until both Rajapaksa and Wickremesinghe are out of office.


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