He fled to Singapore on Friday in an attempt to avoid the mass rebellion that erupted in Sri Lanka because of the country’s greatest economic crisis in seven decades.
A new president will be appointed “constitutionally” from here on out, Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, Sri Lanka’s parliament speaker, told reporters. “It’s going to happen in a flash and for the better. I ask for everyone’s help in this endeavour.”
After fleeing to the Maldives with his wife and two bodyguards early on Wednesday, Rajapaksa arrived in Singapore on Thursday. Last Saturday, protesters assaulted his home and office.
As a 34-year-old schoolteacher who had been camping outside the presidential secretariat for the previous three months, Arunanandan expressed his joy at the resignation of President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
“This country belongs to us.”
Sri Lanka’s largest city of Colombo erupted into excitement late on Thursday night after the speaker received an e-mail informing him of Rajapaksa’s resignation.
Gota Go Gama, a protest venue named after the first name of former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, was filled with people who lit off fireworks, chanted slogans, and danced joyfully.
Speaker Abeywardena stated that parliament will return on Saturday in order to conclude the selection process for a new president within the next seven days. The weekend meeting’s agenda will be established on Friday, and the vote for the next president will take place on July 20 in parliament.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe will be acting as interim president, but the ruling party has yet to make a final decision on whether he will take over permanently. Among the possible contenders are Sajith Premadasa of the opposition, and Dullas Alahapperuma, the senior lawmaker.
Hundreds of thousands of protesters stormed government offices in Colombo last weekend, blaming the Rajapaksa family and allies for soaring inflation, shortages of essential supplies, and corruption in Sri Lanka’s economy.
In order to preserve fuel, the government has shuttered schools and mandated work-from-home policies for office workers. Foreign loans have been defaulted on by a country of 22 million people.
Central bank officials have warned that headline inflation could reach to 70 percent over the next few months.
A possible bailout loan from the International Monetary Fund had been in the works for Sri Lanka before the most recent cabinet shambles halted those talks.
International Monetary Fund spokesman Gerry Rice said on Thursday that the IMF was still in touch with government officials at the technical level but intended to begin high-level negotiations “as soon as practicable.”