Sri Lankan PM Ranil Wickremesinghe takes over as acting president: Report

Updated on Jul 13, 2022 09:51 PM IST

Sri Lankan crisis: The protests across the island nation continues as the protesters have now demanded that PM Ranil Wickremesinghe must resign.

Ranil Wickremesinghe has taken over as acting Sri Lankan president.(Reuters File Photo)
Ranil Wickremesinghe has taken over as acting Sri Lankan president.(Reuters File Photo)
By | Edited by Aryan Prakash

Sri Lankan prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Wednesday took over as the acting president, hours after Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled to Maldives amid protests against him in the country, Reuters reported.

"The prime minister as acting president has declared a state of emergency (countrywide) and imposed a curfew in the western province," Wickremesinghe's media secretary, Dinouk Colombage, told Reuters. The curfew comes into effect immediately.

The protests across the island nation continues as the protesters have now demanded that Wickremesinghe must resign. A mob of protesters stormed the Lankan prime minister's residence, braving the tear gas shells by security forces.

Earlier in the day, Rajapaksa fled the country and arrived in Maldives where he was received by speaker Mohamed Nasheed. He had yielded to the protesters' demand of resignation from the post of president and agreed to resign today.

Protests against the Rajapaksas have continued for months and intensified last weekend when thousands of protesters stormed the presidential palace and the prime minister's residence. The protesters have blamed the Rajapaksa family for the economic crisis in the country which has left the citizens struggling for fuel, food and medicines.

Police imposed an indefinite curfew across the Western Province, which includes Colombo, "to contain the situation", a senior police officer said.

Wickremesinghe has himself announced his willingness to resign if consensus is reached on forming a unity government.

His office confirmed Wednesday that Rajapaksa had left the country, but said it had no schedule for any resignation announcement.

The presidential succession process could take between three days -- the minimum time needed for parliament to elect an MP to serve out Rajapaksa's term, which ends in November 2024 -- and a maximum of 30 days allowed under the statute, Reuters reported.

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