Sri Lankan president steps down after fleeing country

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa resigned on Thursday, fleeing the country and leaving his nation’s economy in crisis.

The Sri Lankan Parliament will meet on Saturday to begin the process of selecting the nation’s next president and expects to fill the role within a week.

A nation in chaos

“Rajapaksa fled Sri Lanka Wednesday after protesters swarmed his home and other government offices. The protesters accuse Rajapaksa of stealing money from the government for years,” Fox News reported.

“They also accuse his administration of mismanaging the economy causing it to collapse. Rajapaksa has acknowledged that some of his policies contributed to the meltdown,” it added.

A temporary solution

“PM Ranil Wickremesinghe has been sworn in as acting president,” the BBC noted.

“Parliament has up to a month to elect a new leader, who could be Mr Wickremesinghe,” it added.

The now-former president fled to the Maldives and then to Singapore earlier this week after fleeing for his life from anti-government protests. The president was kept from boarding a plane to the UAE by airport officials who would not approve his passport for the flight.

The protesters broke into the presidential palace after days of increasing demonstrations targeted toward the end of his reign. The final days of Rajapaksa’s rule left the economy in shambles with upheaval widespread across the island nation.

The announcement is not surprising, but the aftermath could be as Sri Lanka seeks to move beyond the chaos to new leadership to stabilize as a nation.

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