More important to rebuild Lanka than my own house: Wickremesinghe
Sri lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe, in reference to the protesters' threats, said that there was no point in asking that he "should go home" because he has nowhere to go. As per the Colombo Gazette, Wickremesinghe stated in Sri Lanka's city of Kandy that certain people have vowed to organize rallies demanding that he return home amid the ongoing economic crisis.
Why does this story matter?
Sri Lanka is witnessing record inflation and a food and fuel shortage due to a long-term financial crisis that has left the nation bankrupt. The nation's economy has been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine crisis, leaving it with $51 billion in foreign debt. After mass civilian protests last week, former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was forced to flee the nation and resign.
Official statement over the issue
Wickremesinghe stated that demanding him to return home is a waste of time and that protesters should instead work to either repair his burned-out house or rebuild the country. "I'm appealing to you not to do that as I have no home. There's no point telling a man who has no home to go to," he reportedly stated.
Unrest delayed agreement with IMF: Wickremesinghe
He emphasized that the disturbances have delayed a possible agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to help bring the bankrupt nation out of its economic crisis. He reportedly asked political parties to work together to find sustainable solutions to Lanka's problems rather than criticizing former president Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Wickremesinghe urged everyone, including leaders, to work together to bring the country out of debt.
Foreign countries won't provide aid without agreement with IMF: President
The President reaffirmed that foreign countries will not provide financial aid to the island country until an agreement with the IMF is reached. "The negotiations stalled due to instability....over the past few weeks....agitators stormed the nation amid extreme fuel and food shortages," he stated. Sri Lanka must reportedly find means to repay its loans because the IMF will not totally alleviate the country's problems.
What exactly happened to his house?
Notably, on July 9, outraged by the extraordinary economic crisis, Sri Lankan demonstrators broke into then-Prime Minister (PM) Ranil Wickremesinghe's private home and set it on fire. Despite the fact that the police had shot tear gas at the protesters, they broke into his home and set it ablaze. Following this, Wickremesinghe, who was named PM in May, resigned from his position.
Wickremesinghe became President of Sri Lanka on July 21
After Gotabaya Rajapaksa's resignation as president, Wickremesinghe was sworn in as the new president of Sri Lanka on July 21 in front of Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya. On July 20, he won the presidency in a vote held in the Lankan Parliament.Share this timeline