President Gotabaya Rajapaksa resigns as protests continue in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Thursday sent his resignation letter through an email to the Parliament Speaker, days after protesters stormed the presidential palace demanding his resignation. The Speaker may now call a special session of Parliament within the next three days.

Rajapaksa, who fled Sri Lanka following intense protests, had handed over the reins of the country to Prime Minister Ranil Ranil Wickremesinghe. The prime minister, as acting President, imposed an emergency in the wake of protests.

The anti-government protesters have announced to vacate some of the administrative buildings, including the President’s house and the PM office, they have been occupying since April 9 demanding Rajapaksa’s ouster.

Meanwhile, acting President Wickremesinghe has already told the Speaker to call on party leaders to name a new prime minister through consensus.

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On Saturday, Rajapaksa had announced to step down on July 13 after thousands of protesters stormed his official residence, blaming him for the unprecedented economic crisis that has brought the country to its knees.

He, however, fled to the Maldives and later to Singapore without resigning from his office.

Under the Sri Lankan Constitution, if both the president and prime minister resign, the Speaker of parliament will serve as acting president for a maximum of 30 days.

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The Parliament will elect a new president within 30 days from one of its members, who will hold the office for the remaining two years of the current term.

Sri Lanka, a country of 22 million people, is under the grip of an unprecedented economic turmoil, the worst in seven decades, leaving millions struggling to buy food, medicine, fuel and other essentials.

Earlier, PM Wickremesinghe had announced that the country, with an acute foreign currency crisis that resulted in foreign debt default, is now a bankrupt nation.

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