Sri Lanka’s President, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, has announced he will resign following political turmoil that ransacked the country in recent days.
President Rajapaksa, who has been facing pressure to resign for months as Sri Lanka faces its worst economic crisis, has communicated his intention to resign on 13 July – but he is yet to address the public or submit a resignation letter.
According to a statement from the Prime Minister’s office: “Rajapaksa has officially informed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe that he will be resigning as previously announced.”
The news follows mass protests on 9 July, during thousands of people descended on the capital Colombo and occupied the President’s premises – as well as the residence of the Prime Minister.
Rajapaksa has been President since November 2019 and, alongside five other members of his family who held senior political posts, stands accused of corruption, economic mismanagement and bankruptcy.
Prime Minister Wickremesinghe has also agreed to resign after facing criticism that he had failed Sri Lanka and supported Rajapaksa’s administration. Wickremesinghe’s private home was set alight by protesters on the night of 9 July.
On 10 July, leaders from Sri Lanka’s main opposition parties met to form a new unity government, which is expected to last only six to eight months.
The whereabouts of President Rajapaksa remain unknown. He has not been seen since 8 July, when he was removed from his house and placed under military protection.