In Sri Lanka, Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe became the country's interim president. The parliament's decision will last until a new successor is elected to replace outgoing President Gotabay Rajapaksa. It is reported by the news agency Associated Press.
President Rajapaksa formally resigned on Thursday. On Saturday, the legislature will hold an urgent meeting at which a new leader is to be chosen. The elected president will serve until 2024, the end of Rajapaksa's term. The new leader is expected to be sworn in within seven days.
The elected president of the country, in turn, will appoint a new prime minister of Sri Lanka, whose candidacy will have to be approved by parliament. Following the announcement of Rajapaksa's resignation, the protesters also demanded that Wickramasinghe step down from his post.
The prime minister effectively began acting as president on Wednesday after Rajapaksa fled Sri Lanka for the Maldives amid widespread protests. As it became known later, on Thursday his plane landed in Singapore. In connection with the flight of the president on July 13, the authorities on the island declared a state of emergency. Prior to this, the protesters set fire to the residence of Wickramasinghe.
On July 9, protests erupted in Sri Lanka amid the economic crisis that began in April. Experts call it the largest since 1948, when the country gained independence from Great Britain. Now there is no food, medicine and fuel on the island. According to the UN, four out of five people on the island skip meals due to poverty. Inflation in Sri Lanka reached 54.6%, external debt - $51 billion.
Also in the country there is a depletion of foreign exchange reserves, Sri Lanka cannot buy fuel, fertilizers, food and medicine. At the end of 2019, the reserves amounted to $7.6 billion, in March 2020 - $1.93 billion, and in April 2022 - $50 million. For the first time in the history of the country, Sri Lanka was unable to pay its external debt.