ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka Parliament Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena has received and accepted President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s resignation letter effective July 14 and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe will serve as Acting President till parliament elects a new president, the Speaker said.

Abeyewardena made the announcement at a press conference held at his official residence Friday July 15 morning, ending days of uncertainty over the president’s official resignation which had been announced and delayed several times over.

Former President Rajapaksa is currently in Singapore on what is officially termed a private visit, having fled Sri Lanka to the Maldives after thousands of protestors stormed his official residence on July 09 demanding his resignation.

Youth-led protestors have been demanding his resignation since late March this year over his role in what has become Sri Lanka’s worst economic crisis since Independence.

The country is now going through its worst fuel crisis on record, with miles-long queues for petrol and diesel seen snaking around towns all over the country, along with queues for other essentials like cooking gas which are on short supply due to a severe shortage of dollars.

Experts and opposition lawmakers have blamed Rajapaksa for ill-advised policy decisions such as record levels of money printing, massive tax cuts and an overnight ban on inorganic fertilizer, all of which they say have had contributed to the crisis.

Rajapaka and the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), however, have claimed the crisis is mostly due to the COVID-19 pandemic which resulted in the deterioration of the dollar-earning tourism sector and a drop in foreign remittances. (Colombo/Jul15/2022)