Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa emailed a letter of resignation to the speaker of the parliament following his flee to Singapore on Thursday. A representative from the Sri Lanka Consulate in Los Angeles declined to comment on the matter when approached by the Brutus Journal and deferred to the Consulate General, who could not be immediately reached.
Prime Minister and Finance Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was designated interim president in Rajapaksa’s resignation letter. His brief term will begin as soon as he is sworn in and will end as soon as Parliament selects a new president.
The Parliament is scheduled to meet today and will likely announce its decision next week. Wickremesinghe and Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa are now top contenders in the race, with Wickremesinghe reportedly having a slight upper hand.
Rajapaksa’s flight to Singapore comes after massive demonstrations revolving around governmental corruption, unchecked inflation, and drastic supply chain shortages. Protests have become violent in some places and involved the storming and subsequent occupation of several government buildings along with the presidential residence and the prime minister’s private quarters.
Protests and riots on the streets quickly morphed into celebrations of joy as news of the president’s resignation reached the crowds. Many participating in the protests have also indicated dissatisfaction with Wickremesinghe and are expected to continue perpetuating civil unrest for the beginning of the latter’s presidency.
The United National Party, of which both Wickremesinghe and Rajapaksa are a part of, does seem unpopular among residents of the island nation. Opponents note that a little more than 220,000 voted for the party which will continue to rule over 22 million people. Brutus Journal has not been able to independently verify the authenticity of both statistics.
It is important to note that supply chain shortages, inflation, and government mismanagement are not an issue unique to Sri Lanka. Many countries around the world from a variety of different backgrounds are presently suffering the same woe, with no clear solution that can be implemented in the foreseeable future.
Sri Lanka's political turmoil should serve as a warning sign for all countries in the months to come. Global economies are in the tightest squeeze ever experienced by many citizens of the world. As distaste for world governments brews in developing and developed nations, Boris Johnson may be the mere first of a long string of government heads to resign.