Years of political and economic unrest culminated in intense protesting that led to the takeover of the presidential residence by civilians and the announcement that the Sri Lankan president and his entire cabinet will resign their positions this week.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has been under fire since he took office in 2019 for what Sri Lankan residents say are increasingly dire economic and living conditions. Last week, tensions boiled over as protesters flooded the streets and ultimately overran the country’s capitol buildings in Colombo, including the residences of the president and the Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe.
Video footage shows protesters who seized the complex celebrating as they swam in the pools, danced in the residences, and took selfies and waved the Sri Lankan flag from inside the capitol buildings. The Prime Minister’s home was set alight by protesters.
On Monday, the president’s office confirmed Rajapaska and his Prime Minister will resign this week, along with his cabinet. The resignations come after weeks of escalating protests as inflation and soaring government debt have left the country struggling with shortages of everything from food to fuel. Sri Lanka’s Parliament is set to vote for a new president on July 20, according to Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena.
“During the party leaders’ meeting held today it was agreed that this was essential to ensure a new all-party government is in place in accordance with the Constitution,” the Speaker said. “The ruling party has said the prime minister and the Cabinet are ready to resign to appoint an all-party government”
The political shakeup is the most unrest the island nation has seen since its independence from Britain in 1948.
ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: CNN
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