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The president of Sri Lanka leaves the nation hours before he was supposed to resign

Image: Reuters Berita 24 English -  Reuters was informed by two sources that Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa left the country early...

Image: Reuters

Berita 24 English -  Reuters was informed by two sources that Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa left the country early on Wednesday, hours before he was scheduled to resign in the face of overwhelming criticism of his response to a dire economic crisis.

An immigration employee told Reuters that Rajapaksa, his wife, and two bodyguards boarded a Sri Lankan Air Force aircraft.

He reportedly left for Male, the Maldives' main city, according to a government source. From there, the president would probably travel to another Asian nation, the insider claimed.

According to the immigration official, authorities could not stop a president who was in office from leaving the nation.

After tens of thousands of protestors occupied the prime minister's and Rajapaksa's official houses on Saturday, they were expected to leave on Wednesday to pave room for a unity administration.

Since Friday, the president has not been spotted in the open. On July 20, the Parliament will choose his replacement.

Most Sri Lankans hold the Rajapaksa family accountable for current issues since they have long dominated politics in the 22 million-person nation, including former prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The COVID-19 pandemic, a decline in remittances from Sri Lankans living abroad, and a restriction on chemical fertilisers all had a negative impact on the country's tourism-based economy. Later, the ban was lifted.

The Rajapaksas implemented populist tax cuts in 2019, which had an impact on government finances and limited imports of fuel, food, and medication due to falling foreign reserves.

Long lineups have formed in front of stores selling cooking gas as a result of the harsh rationing of gasoline. The central bank has warned that headline inflation, which reached 54.6 percent last month, could reach 70 percent in the coming months.

The president's brother, Mahinda Rajapaksa, resigned from his position as prime minister in May after demonstrations against the family grew violent. He spent a few days in hiding at a military facility in the country's east before making his way back to Colombo.

Mohammed Nasheed, the former president and speaker of the Maldives parliament, was appointed by the Rajapaksa administration in May to assist in coordinating international aid for Sri Lanka, which is currently experiencing a crisis.

Nasheed officially refuted claims that he was assisting Mahinda Rajapaksa in obtaining safe haven in the Maldives the same month.


Since May, there have been sporadic protests against the Sri Lankan government; nevertheless, on Saturday, hundreds of thousands of people stormed Colombo and seized control of significant government structures and apartments.

Another of the president's brothers, former finance minister Basil Rajapaksa, was denied entry on Tuesday by immigration officers.

It was unclear where Basil Rajapaksa, who is also a citizen of the United States, was attempting to go. Early in April, amid widespread street demonstrations against food and fuel shortages, he resigned as finance minister. In June, he left his position as a member of parliament.

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