After fleeing Sri Lankan President, he offers his resignation

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Gotabaya Rajapaksa has offered to resign as Sri Lanka president after fleeing to Singapore, having been forced from office by mass protests over his country’s economic collapse.

Sri Lanka’s parliamentary speaker said on Thursday evening that Rajapaksa had tendered his resignation from Singapore but that an official announcement would only come on Friday “after the verification process and legal formalities”.

Singapore’s foreign ministry had earlier issued a short statement confirming that Rajapaksa had been permitted to enter the city-state on a “private visit”, adding that he had not asked for asylum.

Sri Lankans were following the flight of a Saudi Arabian plane from Male, Maldivia to Singapore on Thursday. They believed that the flight was on its way. RajapaksaWas travelling.

Rajapaksa, 73, He fled Sri Lanka together with his wife and two bodyguards on a military jet to the Maldives on Wednesday without making good on his promise to resign, as a wave of protests rocked the island nation.

Tens of thousand people gathered in Colombo’s largest city and took over his official residence. Boil over.

The mass protests were among the worst episodes of political unrest in emerging markets this year, who are suffering from higher fuel and food prices as well as tighter credit because of the war in Ukraine.

Rajapaksa’s delay in tendering his resignation was likely intended, analysts said, with the aim of holding on to diplomatic immunity while he looked for refuge in a country that would take him in.

Thyagi Ruwanpathirana, a south Asia researcher at Amnesty International, said Rajapaksa could yet face prosecution relating to his role in the final, bloody phase of Sri Lanka’s war against Tamil separatists in 2009 when he was secretary of defence.

The UN’s human rights commission last year set up a Geneva-based “Sri Lanka accountability project” meant to gather evidence of past alleged human rights abuses in the country with an eye to future prosecution.

Singapore places a high priority on its economic relationships with other countries. It also tends not to be involved in foreign politics to avoid controversy. A large number of migrants from Sri Lanka are also residents in the city-state.

However, a former Singaporean official said: “It would be surprising [if Singapore granted Rajapaksa asylum] and even more surprising if he expected sanctuary here.”

On Thursday, Colombo remained calm after authorities had imposed a curfew that began at noon for the second consecutive day. Sri Lanka’s military urged protesters to desist from using violence, and warned it was prepared to use force “if the situation deems necessary”.

Rajapaksa’s downfall marks the end of one of Asia’s most powerful political dynasties. His brother Mahinda was also in the Sri Lanka presidency. The family has ruled Sri Lanka since the 1990s, with the exception of a brief spell in opposition from 2015 to 2019.

But they are now accused of borrowing heavily to construct China-backed spending programs and for a series economic failures that caused Sri Lankan debt default in May.

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