Colombo [Sri Lanka]: President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his wife along with two bodyguards travelled to the Maldives after full approval of the country’s Defense Ministry, Sri Lanka officials confirmed on Wednesday.
“According to the request of the Government in accordance with the powers vested in an Executive President in the Constitution of Sri Lanka, His Excellency the President and the Lady along with two bodyguards from Katunayake International Airport to the Maldives subject to the full approval of the Ministry of Defense subject to immigration, customs and all other laws at Katunayake International Airport. An Air Force flight was given early in the morning on 13th July 2022 to depart,” Sri Lankan Air Force Media Director said in a statement. Rajapaksa landed at the Velana International Airport in the Maldives early Wednesday.
The Prime Minister’s Office also confirmed that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has left the country.
On Monday, Rajapaksa signed a resignation letter which will be handed over to the Speaker of Parliament to make a public announcement today.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Wednesday will be sworn in as the President for a temporary period till a new President is elected by Parliament on July 20 and nominations for the presidency will be called for on July 19.
Sri Lanka is facing the worst economic crisis since its independence which has led to massive protests demanding the ouster of Rajapaksa as the President.
Sri Lanka’s speaker of parliament Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena has said political party leaders have decided to elect a new president on July 20 through a vote in parliament.
The development comes after thousands of people stormed into the President’s House in Fort on Saturday. The dramatic visuals also came from PM’s official residence where they were seen playing carrom board, sleeping on the sofa, enjoying in park premises and preparing food for dinner.
In the wake of record food price inflation, skyrocketing fuel costs and widespread commodity shortages, some 61 per cent of households in Sri Lanka are regularly using coping strategies to cut down on costs, such as reducing the amount they eat and consuming increasingly less nutritious meals.