Amid raging protests over the economic collapse of the country they lead, Sri Lanka’s president and prime minister have reportedly agreed to resign in the coming days, as NBC News reports.
The decisions came in the wake of worsening demonstrations which included the storming and ransacking of both officials’ residences, unrest caused by dire, widespread shortages of food, fuel, and a host of other key consumer goods.
Prime Minister Rani Wickremesinghe confessed that the country’s economy was “bankrupt” and on Saturday agreed to step down from his post once a new government can be put into place.
“Today in this country we have a fuel crisis, a food shortage, we have the head of the World Food Program coming here and we have several matters to discuss with the IMF,” said Wickremesinghe. “Therefore, if this government leaves there should be another government.”
Soon after, the speaker of the Sri Lankan Parliament, Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, indicated that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had also agreed to resign later this week.
“He asked me to inform the country that he will make his resignation on Wednesday the 13th, because there is a need to hand over power peacefully,” explained Abeywardena.
The speaker attempted to stem the tide of the chaotic demonstrations that have gripped the country in recent days, adding that “there is no need for further disturbances” and urging “for the sake of the country to maintain peace to enable a smooth transition.”
As the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, however, anxieties have continued to flare as a result of silence from the president himself, who has not made personal confirmation of the speaker’s claim that a resignation is indeed imminent, and whose location is not presently known.
With opposition parties currently jostling for position as an interim government is set to take shape, it remains to be seen when and how successfully some semblance of stability will be restored to the Sri Lankan economy and the millions who depend on it.