Ranil Wickremesinghe takes oath as Acting President of Sri Lanka
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Friday took oath as Acting President of Sri Lanka after Gotabaya Rajapaksa's resignation was officially accepted. Wickremesinghe will act as caretaker president until a new president is elected by parliament. New president will be elected in next seven days. Meanwhile, Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) confirmed that Rajapaksa has been allowed entry into Singapore on a private visit.
- Sri Lanka has been facing record inflation, and severe shortages of food, fuel, and other essentials.
- It is struggling to service its $51 billion foreign debt due to a lack of foreign exchange with the COVID-19 pandemic jeopardizing its lucrative tourism revenue.
- Gotabaya Rajapaksa was forced to flee the country and tender his resignation amid civil unrest with protesters storming his residence and destroying property.
Rajapaksa reportedly flew to Singapore from the Maldives on board a Saudi Airlines flight on Thursday evening. The Daily Mirror reported that Rajapaksa and his wife would travel further to West Asia later. After a sea of protesters stormed Rajapaksa's presidential palace on Saturday, he went into hiding before fleeing to the Maldives on Wednesday. Subsequently, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe was appointed the interim President.
Political parties will propose the name of a new PM to the Speaker at 10 am on Saturday. Taking to Twitter, Colombo MP, Harsha de Silva wrote, "Responding to request by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe to the Sri Lankan Parliament Speaker to propose a name by consensus for PM, opposition parties will today discuss with various parties and groups in government to get such consensus..."
Meanwhile, following a standoff between the security forces and angry protesters who tried to enter the Prime Minister's Office, Wickremesinghe authorized a committee—comprising defense and police officials—to ensure the security of citizens and restore law and order in the nation. A curfew was imposed in the Colombo district from 12 pm on Thursday till 5 am on Friday.
Following Rajapaksa's resignation, a small group of protesters celebrated his ouster. A happy crowd handed out sweets, danced together, and waved the national flag at the seafront boulevard where protesters were camping for months, now demanding Rajapaksa's resignation for bringing the nation to its knees.