Sri Lanka Crisis: After President Flees, PM Steps Down

Colombo: Less than two months after being sworn in as Prime Minister for the sixth time in crisis-hit Sri Lanka, Ranil Wickremesinghe resigned on Saturday.

Party leaders demanded in Parliament that both Wickremesinghe and embattled President Gotabaya Rajapaksa step down on a day when protesters stormed the President’s residence and office, forcing him to flee.

“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 tweeted.

Rajapaksa’s whereabouts was not known since he was moved out of his residence ahead of Saturday’s protests. Thousands of angry anti-government protesters, many of them holding national flags and helmets, stormed into his Colombo official residence, resulting in clashes with police.

At least 30 people, including two policemen, were injured.

Rajapaksa has been facing calls for resignation since March.

Sri Lanka is in the midst of its worst economic crisis in seven decades, caused by an acute foreign exchange shortage that has left the country struggling to pay for imports of fuel and other essentials.

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