Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has confirmed he will step down, the prime minister’s office said on Monday July 11, after tens of thousands broke into presidential palace to protest.
President Rajapaksa, who has been facing pressure to resign for months as the country struggles through its worst economic crisis on record, had signalled over the weekend his intention to resign on 13 July but has not addressed the public or submitted a resignation letter.
“Rajapaksa has officially informed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe that he will be resigning as previously announced,” read a statement from the prime minister’s office.
The development came after thousands of protesters stormed the presidential palace in Colombo on Saturday, and also set fire to the prime minister’s home.
President Rajapaksa was evacuated from the presidential palace, and his current whereabouts are unknown.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has also agreed to resign after the formation of an all-party government.
Protesters have continued to occupy the president and prime minister’s official properties, claiming them as public property and stating that they will not leave until both have stepped down.
On Sunday, leaders from Sri Lanka’s main opposition parties met to try to form a new unity government and decide who would be put forward as the new prime minister and president.
Main opposition leader Sajith Premadasa and Dullas Alahapperuma, who was a minister under Rajapaksa, have been proposed for president and prime minister, respectively, The Associated Press news agency reported.