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New Lanka President within 7 days, says Speaker after G Rajapaksa quits

Colombo: Sri Lanka will have a new President within seven days, the parliamentary speaker said Friday, announcing President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s resignation had been accepted after the leader fled the country earlier this week.

“Gotabaya has legally resigned” with effect from Thursday, Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardana told reporters, after Rajapaksa notified the speaker from Singapore he was stepping down.

Sri Lankans had been waiting for a formal announcement confirming the president had resigned after he fled to Singapore to escape anti-government protests triggered by his country’s dire economic crisis.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa submitted his resignation late Thursday after arriving in Singapore from the Maldives, where he initially escaped after demonstrators overran his palace at the weekend.

Rajapaksa’s departure came after months of protests over what critics said was his mismanagement of the island nation’s economy, leading to severe hardships for its 22 million people.

Rajapaksa is the first president to resign since Sri Lanka adopted a presidential system of government in 1978.