Protests in Colombo seem to have died down today, after yesterday’s violent clashes left 1 dead and many more injured. As many as 50 people have had to be hospitalized. Amid this serious situation, Sri Lanka is still awaiting the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who along with his wife Ioma Rajapaksa, fled to the Maldives yesterday. Sources say that the couple was to board a scheduled flight from Male to Singapore today, but have not done so. The couple is believed to be still in Male.
Gotabaya had told Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena that he would be submitting his resignation on July 13, but he fled the country without doing so. In his absence, Ranil Wickremesinghe was appointed as Acting President. Now the country’s parliament is scheduled to announce the new President on July 20. The last date to file nominations is July 19.
Following Gotabaya’s escape amid the worst economic crisis ever, Wickremesinghe declared a state of emergency in the country. Since early this year, Sri Lanka has been seeing violent protests throughout the country with people being outraged at the years of mismanagement by the government.
Sri Lanka’s economic crisis began with the inability to import essential commodities. Coronavirus caused a drop in revenue from its tourism and remittances. The government imposed a massive ban on imports to maintain foreign exchange reserves. The government wanted to use the foreign exchange reserves to pay off debts but couldn’t. The situation got exacerbated because of years of government mismanagement and unnecessary tax cuts.