Rampant inflation, shortages, a deposed president…the crisis point that rocked Sri Lanka

L Sri Lanka Since independence in 1948, it has been facing one of the most violent crises in its history. Inflation soared to 54.6% in June, strangling the population. deficits Food, fuel and electricity. Since the end of March, demonstrations have been organized across the country They demand the resignation of the President and the government. From inflation to desertification, “20 Minutes” takes a look back at the crisis rocking Sri Lanka.

Why did the situation explode?

Demonstrators have been camping outside the Presidential Secretariat for over three months demanding the President’s resignation. Gotabaya Rajapaksa It has been accused of mismanaging the economy. Lacking foreign exchange, Sri Lanka is unable to finance the most essential imports for its population of 22 million. In two years in office, the president has emptied the state coffers from $7.5 billion to $2.7 billion by the end of 2021.

Colombo is its default This is It is in talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a $51 billion foreign debt and a possible bailout in April. Sri Lanka has almost exhausted its petrol reserves. The government has ordered the closure of non-essential offices and schools to reduce travel and save fuel. In six months, Diesel price 230%, gasoline exploded 137%.

Also, the Covid-19 made the situation worse. Generally, tourism accounts for 10% of the island’s economy, located in Southeast India. Viewership was already low after the attacks the country experienced in the spring of 2019. Now, 80% of the population is too poor to skip meals, according to the UN.

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What turn did the crisis take this weekend?

On Saturday, hundreds of thousands of people gathered in the official residential area to express their anger. Several hundred people poured into the palace, scaling the gates as guards struggled to hold them back until the president was expelled.

The Prime Minister’s residence was set on fire in the evening and three suspects were arrested on Sunday, police said. These events are the climax Expressions Relentless and sometimes violent in recent months in the face of shortages. Locals often blame the clan RajapakseThe brothers have shared power for over fifteen years and accuse them of incompetence Corruption.

The protesters, who occupied not only the President’s House, but the Prime Minister’s office and the offices of these two leaders, took an oath from the Head of State to resign on July 13.

Where is the controversial president?

Meanwhile, Gotabaya Rajapaksa is actively trying to leave the country. This Tuesday, the president was seen face-to-face with agents at the Colombo airport and humiliated. I’m immigration who rejected him. He is exempt from the presidency because he has not yet resigned, which he promised to do on Wednesday for a “peaceful transition of power.” He may want to avail himself of the opportunity to seek asylum abroad.

According to a senior security source, Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s advisers are discussing the possibility of the president and his entourage escaping in a patrol boat. The President’s Office has not been contacted about his situation, but Gotabaya Rajapaksa is the commander of the army and thus has a military facility.

A naval ship was used to transfer the head of state from the presidential palace, which was besieged by protesters, to the port of Trincomalee in the country’s northeast on Saturday. Later, the Head of State arrived at the Colombo International Airport by helicopter on Monday. “The best option now is to get out by sea,” the defense official said. “He may go to the Maldives or so Inde And get on the plane Dubai “. Another option is to charter a plane from Mattala International Airport. Anyway, behind the scenes, arrangements are being made to escape the embattled president.

Who will replace future exiles?

If the head of state steps down as promised, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe would automatically become interim president, but he too was contested by demonstrators. The Parliament There will be a month’s time to elect a deputy who can exercise the power till the end of the current mandate i.e. November 2024.

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A very long time given the crisis. The Parliament Speaker also promised that the representatives would appoint a new president within a week. But now it seems that no candidate has collected a majority of votes and the political crisis may continue.

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