Sri Lanka’s president resigns after fleeing the country, parliament to begin seeking replacement

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Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa resigned on Thursday after feeling the country in the midst of an economic crisis in the country.

Sri Lanka’s parliamentary speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeyweardana announced this on Friday. The country’s parliament convenes on Saturday to begin the process of electing a new president. The country hopes to have a new president within the next seven days.

Rajapaksa fled Sri Lanka on Wednesday after protesters stormed his home and other government offices. Protesters accuse Rajapaksa of stealing money from the government for years. They also accuse his administration of having poor management of the economy, causing it to collapse. Rajapaksa has acknowledged that some of his policies contributed to the meltdown.

FIL- Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa sings Sri Lankan national anthem during celebration of the country's Independence Day in Colombo, Sri Lanka, February 4, 2022. (AP Photo / Eranga Jayawardena, file)

FIL- Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa sings Sri Lankan national anthem during celebration of the country’s Independence Day in Colombo, Sri Lanka, February 4, 2022. (AP Photo / Eranga Jayawardena, file)

Months of protests reached an insane peak over the weekend as protesters stormed the president’s home and office and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s official residence. On Wednesday, de Wickremesinghe’s office was seized.

SRI LANKA PRESIDENT MOVES COUNTRY, DEMONSTRATIC STORM PRIME MINISTER WHEN EMERGENCY IS DECLARED

Protesters initially promised to hold these seats until a new government was in place, but the movement changed tactics on Thursday, apparently worried that any escalation of violence could undermine their message after clashes the previous night outside parliament that left dozens wounded.

Army officers stand guard as people crowd over President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's official residence for the second day after it was stormed in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on July 11.

Army officers stand guard as people crowd over President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s official residence for the second day after it was stormed in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on July 11.
(AP / Rafiq Maqbool)

Rajapaksa’s successor would serve as president for the remainder of his term, which ends in 2024. The new leader could potentially elect a new prime minister to be approved by parliament.

ECONOMIC PROTESTS HAVE THE WORLDWIDE AS CHALLENGES FROM INFLATION, UKRAINE WAR, CORONAVIRUS MOUNTAIN

The country of about 22 million people is experiencing a severe currency shortage, which has limited significant imports of fuel, food and medicine. The shortage has pushed the island into the worst economic situation in 70 years.

Protesters demanding the resignation of Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa swim in a pool inside Sri Lanka's Presidential Palace in Colombo on July 9, 2022.

Protesters demanding the resignation of Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa swim in a pool inside Sri Lanka’s Presidential Palace in Colombo on July 9, 2022.
(AFP via Getty Images)

Sri Lanka has not received fuel shipments in recent weeks, forcing school closures and restricting petrol and diesel to important services. Residents skip meals to stand in line for hours for scarce fuel.

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And the nation’s inflation levels are soaring. Sri Lankas Inflation reached 54.6% in June.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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