Sri Lanka on a knife-edge as promised Rajapaksa resignation fails to arrive

The Guardian

By Hannah Ellis-Petersen
Protesters run away from teargas during a protest at the prime minister's office in Colombo, Sri Lanka Photograph: Tharaka Basnayaka/NurPhoto/REX/Shutterstock

Tensions remained on a knife-edge in Sri Lanka after a promised resignation from the president had still not appeared by Thursday morning, leaving the country in a political limbo.

There was a pressing silence from President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who escaped to the Maldives early on Wednesday morning. According to local media, he was still waiting for a private jet to take him to his final destination of Singapore on Thursday after it was deemed a security risk for him to take a commercial flight.

The parliamentary speaker said the president’s resignation letter had still not arrived by early Thursday morning. Sri Lanka is in a state of emergency after protesters breached the prime minister’s offices and took over the state television broadcaster on Wednesday amid mounting anger over Rajapaksa’s failure to resign.

As president, he has immunity from arrest. Many believe his resignation announcement will not come until he has reached his final destination and ensured protection from prosecution, both from charges of alleged corruption and longstanding accusations of war crimes during Sri Lanka’s civil war when he was head of the armed forces.

Publish : 2022-07-14 11:53:00

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