President Gotabaya Rajapaksa resigns as protests continue in Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa sent his resignation letter via email to the Speaker of Parliament on Thursday after protesters stormed the Rashtrapati Bhavan demanding his resignation. The Speaker can now call a special session of Parliament within the next three days.

Rajapaksa, who fled Sri Lanka after intense protests, handed over the reins of the country to Prime Minister Ranil Ranil Wickremesinghe. The Prime Minister, as the acting President, imposed a state of emergency in the wake of the protests.

Anti-government protesters have announced the evacuation of some administrative buildings, including the Rashtrapati Bhavan and the PM’s office, demanding Rajapaksa’s removal from April 9.

Meanwhile, caretaker President Wickremesinghe has already asked the Speaker to ask party leaders to unanimously name a new prime minister.

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On Saturday, Rajapaksa announced his resignation on July 13 after thousands of protesters stormed his official residence, blaming him for the unprecedented economic crisis that brought the country to its knees.

However, he fled to Maldives and later to Singapore without resigning from his post.

Under the Constitution of Sri Lanka, if both the President and the Prime Minister resign, the Speaker of the Parliament will serve as the Acting President for a maximum period of 30 days.

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Parliament will elect a new Speaker from amongst its members within 30 days, who will hold office for the remaining two years of the current term.

Sri Lanka, a country of 22 million people, is in the grip of an unprecedented economic turmoil, the worst in seven decades, leaving millions struggling to buy food, medicine, fuel and other essentials.

Earlier, PM Wickremesinghe had declared that the country, with an acute foreign exchange crisis that resulted in foreign loan defaults, is now a bankrupt nation.

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