Sri Lanka is nearly bankrupt and has suspended payments on $7 billion of foreign debt due this year. Its foreign reserves are almost annihilated and it cannot import food, fuel, cooking gas and medicine.
Here are the latest developments:
Protesters find millions of rupees in Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s home
Protesters who stormed the home of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Saturday amid the country’s worst economic crisis claimed to have recovered a large sum of money from the mansion, local media reported.
According to Sri Lanka’s Daily Mirror, it was reported that the recovered money was handed over to security units.
#WATCH | Protesters arrive at the presidential palace in Colombo, Sri Lanka
— The Times Of India (@timesofindia) 1657434394000
Opposition hopes to install new government amid turmoil
Opposition political parties will meet today to agree on a new government a day after the country’s president and prime minister offered to resign on the country’s most chaotic day in months of political turmoil, with protesters storming houses of both authorities and setting fire to one of the buildings in a rage over the country’s economic crisis.
Opposition lawmaker MA Sumanthiran said all opposition parties combined could easily muster the 113 members needed to show a majority in Parliamentafter which they will ask President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to install the new government and then resign.
Live updates from Sri Lanka’s economic crisis
President Rajapaksa’s whereabouts are still unknown as protesters continue to occupy his residence
Rajapaksa’s only communication outside since protesters stormed the city was with Parliament Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, who announced Saturday night that the president would step down on Wednesday.
President Rajapaksa informed the president of this decision to step down after Abeywardena wrote to him asking for his resignation following the meeting of all-party leaders held Saturday night.
The speaker would become the acting president in the absence of the president and prime minister. Later, an election among the deputies must take place to elect a new president. Prime Minister Wickremesinghe also offered to step down.
Opportunity to resolve crisis peacefully now available: Sri Lankan Army Chief
Sri Lankan Army Chief General Shavendra Silva said an opportunity to resolve the current political crisis peacefully is now available and sought the people’s support to maintain peace in the island nation, hours after President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, in trouble, agreed to resign.
In a brief statement, Defense Chief of Staff Gen. Silva, said that an opportunity has arisen to resolve the current crisis peacefully.
He called on all Sri Lankans to support the Armed Forces and Police to ensure that peace is maintained in the country, the news portal Colombo Gazette reported.
President and prime minister resign after rioting protests
Sri Lanka’s president and prime minister agreed to resign on Saturday after the country’s most chaotic day in months of political turmoil, with protesters storming the homes of both officials and setting fire to one of the buildings in anger over the country’s severe economic crisis. .
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said he would step down once a new government was in place, and hours later the Speaker of Parliament said President Gotabaya Rajapaksa would step down on Wednesday. Pressure on the two grew as the economic meltdown triggered an acute shortage of essentials, leaving people struggling to buy food, fuel and other necessities.
IMF closely monitors the situation; hopes for the resolution of the political crisis
The IMF said on Sunday that it is closely monitoring ongoing developments in Sri Lanka and hopes the political crisis will be resolved soon to allow the resumption of dialogue on an IMF-backed program in the cash-strapped country.
The IMF concluded a round of policy-level talks with Prime Minister Wickremesinghe, who is also the finance minister, and there were some financial issues to be resolved. At the same time, Central Bank President Nandalal Weerasinghe said that the monetary program targets have been completed.
“We are closely monitoring ongoing developments in Sri Lanka,” Peter Breuer, senior head of the IMF mission to Sri Lanka, and Masahiro Nozaki, head of the IMF mission to Sri Lanka, said in a statement on Sunday.
US urges Lankan leaders to ‘work quickly’ to deal with ‘discontent’
The US on Sunday urged Lankan leaders to act quickly to seek long-term solutions.
As President Gotabaya Rajapaksa prepares to step down, the United States urges “Sri Lanka’s parliament to approach this juncture with a commitment to the betterment of the nation – not of any political party,” said a spokesperson for the Department of State as Secretary of State. Antonio Blinking State visited Thailand.
“We urge this government or any new constitutionally selected government to work quickly to identify and implement solutions that achieve long-term economic stability and address the discontent of the people of Sri Lanka with worsening economic conditions, including energy shortages, food and fuel”.
The United States has warned against attacks on protesters or journalists, but also criticized the violence on Saturday, when a crowd broke into Rajapaksa’s home.
“The people of Sri Lanka have the right to peacefully raise their voices, and we call for the full investigation, arrest and prosecution of anyone involved in any violent incident related to the protests,” the spokesperson said.
(With agency entries)