Ranil Wickremesinghe, the prime minister of the island nation of Sri Lanka, stepped down from his position on July 9 to allow an all-party government to assume power.
At a meeting of party leaders earlier in the day, Wickremesinghe declared his willingness to step down and allow all-party leaders to take charge of the nation.
“To ensure the continuation of the Government including the safety of all citizens I accept the best recommendation of the Party Leaders today, to make way for an All-Party Government. To facilitate this I will resign as Prime Minister,” Wickremesinghe wrote on Twitter.
To ensure the continuation of the Government including the safety of all citizens I accept the best recommendation of the Party Leaders today, to make way for an All-Party Government.
To facilitate this I will resign as Prime Minister.
— Ranil Wickremesinghe (@RW_UNP) July 9, 2022
Wickremesinghe in the all-party leaders' meeting said he was taking the decision to step down in view of the fact that island-wide fuel distribution is due to recommence this week, the World Food Programme Director is due to visit the country this week and the debt sustainability report for the IMF is due to be finalised shortly.
Wickremesinghe said he is agreeable to the recommendation by the Opposition party leaders, so as to ensure the safety of the citizens.
Meanwhile, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s whereabouts were not known after he was moved out of his residence on July 8 ahead of today's protests, during which thousands of irate anti-government protesters stormed into his official residence in Colombo.
Protesters who climbed the walls of the President’s House are now occupying it. Video footage from inside the building showed hundreds of protesters packing into rooms and corridors. Some video clips showed scores of people taking a dip in the presidential palace pool.
A group of his own parliamentarians have addressed a letter urging him to step down and appoint a new Prime Minister and an all-party government.
Sri Lanka, a country of 22 million, is under the grip of an unprecedented economic turmoil, the worst in seven decades, crippled by an acute shortage of foreign exchange that has left it struggling to pay for essential imports of fuel, and other essentials.