Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to step down on July 13

Colombo: Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has announced he will step down after protesters stormed his official residence and set the prime minister’s house on fire last night. Neither the Prime Minister nor the President were present in the buildings. Lakhs of people descended on the capital Colombo, calling for Mr Rajapaksa to resign after months of protests over economic mismanagement.

Mr Rajapaksa will step down on 13 July. PM Wickremesinghe has also agreed to resign.

Parliamentary speaker Mahinda Abeywardana said the President decided to step down to ensure a peaceful handover of power. He had requested the public to respect the law and maintain peace.

The protesters, who was demonstrating at the president’s house, said it was time to get rid of the president and the prime minister and to have a new era for Sri Lanka.

Ranil Wickremesinghe’s home was set on fire on last evening after protesters broke in. Crowds had earlier overrun the official residence of Mr Rajapaksa too.

Sri Lanka is suffering rampant inflation and is struggling to import food, fuel and medicine as it faces its worst economic crisis in 70 years. The country has also run out of foreign currency and has had to impose a ban on sales of petrol and diesel for private vehicles.

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