President and Prime Minister of Sri Lanka To Resign

By S. E. Flynn, The Chicago Times

July 10, 2022

COLOMBO — Sri Lanka’s president and prime minister agreed to resign Saturday after protesters stormed the presidential residence and set fire to the private residence of the prime minister.

According to the Parliament, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe agreed to leave office once a new government is formed and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa will leave office Wednesday.  The resignations come after massive protests over the nation’s economic collapse and shortages of goods and energy.

Government security forces attempted to impose a curfew to prevent protests, however the curfew was later lifted as opposition leaders and legal experts exposed it as illegal.  Over the next day, thousands of protestors stormed the capital, Colombo, and forced their way into the presidential residence.  Protesters later made their way to the prime minister’s private residence and set it a blaze.  It is unclear if the president or the prime minister were in their homes at the time.

Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena later issued a statement that parliamentary leaders had met and formally requested that President Rajapaksa leave office.  Rajapaksa agreed to leave after a new government is safely in place.

“He asked me to inform the country that he will make his resignation on Wednesday the 13th, because there is a need to hand over power peacefully.  Therefore there is no need for further disturbances in the country, and I urge everyone for the sake of the country to maintain peace to enable a smooth transition,” Abeywardena said in a statement.

Rauff Hakeem, opposition leader, announced that parliament had agreed that the speaker of Parliament would become the temporary president in the interim government.

Wickremesinghe announced his resignation but said he would not step down until a new government is formed.

“Today in this country we have a fuel crisis, a food shortage, we have the head of the World Food Program coming here and we have several matters to discuss with the IMF.  Therefore, if this government leaves there should be another government.” Wickremesinghe said in a statement.