Faced with the protests exploded in Colombo, the president of Sri Lanka, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, has decided to resign on 13 July. This was announced by the Speaker of the Parliament, Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena. “The president needs time to step down to ensure a smooth transfer of power,” he said in a televised statement.
The announcement of the president’s resignation comes after that the mob stormed his residence, his offices, and the offices and residence of the premier Ranil Wickremesinghe who even in the past few hours has said he is ready to resign. The premier’s residence was set on fire.
President and premier have been transferred to a safe place, and at the moment it is not known exactly where President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is. The assault today on the centers of power in Colombo took place after months of protests due to the situation of extreme economic crisis in which the country finds itself. “The country is bankrupt”, declared the premier in recent days, leaving millions of people in difficulty in finding food, fuel, medicine.
So much so that the government has taken the extreme measure of blocking the sale of fuel to individuals until Sunday, keeping the few stocks left for public services. Schools have closed and people have been asked to work from home. Food prices have skyrocketed, with inflation now at 30%, while continuing blackouts and a lack of medicines are crippling the health system.
Appointed in May, in the midst of the country’s economic collapse, Wickremesinghe was prime minister six times, with a first term between 1993 and 1994. In the early 2000s he was a rising politician, but then lost much popularity. . He was again prime minister in 2019 when the Easter Sunday attacks against Catholic churches and hotels killed 250 people. In the last elections he was the only elected member of his UNP party. When he was chosen again as head of government two months ago, his appointment caused great discontent in public opinion that saw him too close to President Rajapaksa.
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