Sri Lanka crisis: Ranil Wickremesinghe quits as PM
In a significant but expected development, Ranil Wickremesinghe has resigned as Sri Lanka's Prime Minister, paving way for an all-party administration to take charge. As per reports, he resigned after accepting suggestions from his party colleagues amid intense demonstrations in the island nation. Earlier, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) had also stated that Wickremesinghe was prepared to quit in the interest of the country.
- Sri Lanka has been reeling under the worst economic upheaval since independence, stemming from a foreign exchange crisis that led to shortages of essential supplies for the last several months.
- Evidently, Wickremesinghe who took over in May failed to bring the country out of the ongoing crisis despite promising to take some drastic steps to revive the economy.
"To ensure the continuation of the Government including the safety of all citizens I accept the best recommendation of the Party Leaders today," he wrote on Twitter. "To make way for an All-Party Government and to facilitate this I will resign as Prime Minister," he said. Wickremesinghe remained as PM for less than two months after assuming office amid the economic crisis.
According to reports, Wickremesinghe's party colleagues suggested he should quit immediately along with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to prevent the widespread protests. They also proposed that the speaker serve as acting president for a maximum of 30 days while electing an MP to the presidency and forming an interim all-party administration, and holding elections as soon as possible.
To recall, on Saturday, thousands of protesters stormed Colombo to express their outrage at the government's failure to avert the economic disaster. They also demanded Gotabaya Rajapaksa's resignation. Further, they clashed with police leading to several injuries. The island country of over 22 million population was driven into the worst financial crisis early this year.
As per reports, the protesters clashed with the police outside the President's house while he had already fled the official residence. They also breached barricades and stormed the building in the capital city of Colombo. Meanwhile, officials in Sri Lanka's Defense Ministry told Reuters that President Rajapaksa was removed from the official premises on Friday for his safety ahead of the planned rally.