The president of Sri Lanka, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, has resigned this Thursday from Singapore, where he had just arrived, while the protesters ended the occupation of public buildings in Colombo, although they assured that they will continue to press power in the midst of a serious economic crisis. and politics.
The resignation letter, sent by email to the president of Parliament, was transmitted to the country’s attorney general to examine the legal aspects before formally accepting it, said the spokesman for the parliamentary official, Indunil Yapa. Rajapaksa, 73, had been given a deadline to resign from office until Wednesday.
If the resignation is accepted, he would become the first Sri Lankan president to resign since the presidential system of government was adopted in 1978.
Gotabaya Rajapaksa has landed in Singapore aboard a plane from the Saudi company Saudia, coming from Maldives, where he had fled the day before.
The city-state has affirmed this Thursday that Rajapaksa has entered “on a private visit” but “he did not ask for asylum and it was not granted to him,” the Singapore Foreign Ministry said in a statement, recalling that the country “in general does not accept asylum requests.
As president, he enjoys immunity from arrest and there is speculation that he sought to go abroad before resigning to avoid arrest.
In Colombo, the Sri Lankan capital, protesters left several state buildings that they had been occupying for several days, after Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe ordered security forces to restore order and declared a state of emergency.
“We are peacefully withdrawing from the Presidential Palace, the presidential secretariat and the prime minister’s office with immediate effect, but we will continue our fight,” said a spokeswoman for the protesters.
Witnesses have seen dozens of activists leaving the prime minister’s office, as police and security forces entered the building. Armed officers patrolled parts of the city, under curfew.
According to security sources, Rajapaksa, who has traveled with his wife Ioma and two bodyguards, will stay in Singapore for some time before heading to the United Arab Emirates.
Sri Lanka, located south of India, suffers from shortages of essential products due to the lack of foreign exchange for imports and the protesters believe that the crisis is due to mismanagement by Rajapaksa.
After months of protests, protesters invaded the president’s official residence on Saturday and later seized the prime minister’s office. Since the president’s flight, the complex was opened to the public and thousands of people visited the building.
There, Gihan Martyn, a 49-year-old shop owner, has accused the president of “playing for time.”
“He’s a coward,” he said. “He ruined our country together with the Rajapaksa family. So we don’t trust him and we need a new government.”
Police have reported that a soldier and an officer have been injured in clashes overnight outside Parliament.
Colombo’s main hospital has reported that 85 people were admitted with injuries on Wednesday and one man suffocated to death after inhaling tear gas at the prime minister’s office.
The army and the police have received this Thursday new orders to firmly repress any type of violence.
But Chirath Chathuranga Jayalath, a 26-year-old student, has said he is not afraid: “They cannot stop these demonstrations by killing people. They will shoot us in the head, but we do this with our hearts,” he said.
Local media in the Maldives reported that the president was received in a hostile manner by passengers at the airport when he arrived on Wednesday.
He was booed and insulted at Velana International Airport and a group organized a demonstration to ask the Maldivian authorities not to allow his presence.
The archipelago media reported that he spent the night at the Waldorf Astoria Ithaafushi, an ultra-luxury hotel in this exclusive tourist destination.
This opulence contrasts with the harsh crisis that his compatriots are experiencing at a time when four out of five people in the country must skip a meal due to the catastrophic economic situation.
The country declared a $51 billion debt moratorium in April and is in negotiations with the International Monetary Fund.
Conforms to The Trust Project criteria