Rajapaksa, 73, had promised to resign from his post on Wednesday, paving the way for a “peaceful handover” in the wake of protests by citizens who accuse the president of causing an unprecedented economic crisis in the country.
A suitcase full of documents and money
Rajapaksa fled his residence in the capital, Colombo, knowing that protesters were approaching. Tens of thousands stormed the palace on Saturday.
Official sources said that the president intends to go to Dubai after leaving the palace. As AFP commented, Rajapaksa is protected by immunity, but it is possible that he intends to leave the country before resigning from his post to avoid the possibility of detention when the immunity expires.
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Airport staff refused to go to the VIP area where the president was staying to get his passportWhile he did not intend to move to the parts of the airport accessible to the public for fear of the angry citizens residing there.
The president and first lady spent the night at a military base near the airport. The president’s younger brother, Basil, who resigned as finance minister in April, also failed to leave the country.
Official sources said that A suitcase full of documents was left at the president’s residence with about 18 million rupiah (one million PLN) in cash.which is currently in the custody of the Colombo Court. The whereabouts of the president is not yet known, but he remains the commander in chief of the armed forces until his resignation.
The inflation rate reached 60 percent. A country in chaos
If Rajapaksa resigns as promised, then Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who was also evacuated to safety, will automatically become the Acting President until Parliament elects a deputy to hold the office until the end of the current term, November 2024.
The island of 22 million is facing a severe currency shortage that has restricted imports of fuel, food and medicine, plunging Sri Lanka into its worst economic crisis since independence in 1948.. Inflation is currently around 55%. The majority of the public blames President Rajapaksa, against whom there have been peaceful demonstrations since March.
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