Rajapaksa’s resignation comes one day after he fled the country amid demonstrations outside his office earlier this week, prompting the country’s prime minister to declare a nationwide state of emergency. His statement of resignation was given to the country’s government late Thursday, with an announcement expected on Friday after the letter is authenticated.
The resignation letter was delivered to Sri Lanka’s Parliament from the country’s high commission in Singapore just hours after Rajapaksa arrived there Thursday. Singapore’s government has allowed the former Sri Lankan president to stay there on a private visit, confirming he has not requested or been granted asylum.
Rajapaksa initially fled to Male, Maldives, with his wife and two bodyguards on Wednesday, according to the Associated Press, ending a family dynasty that has ruled the country for almost two decades. In his departure, Rajapaksa appointed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as the acting president in the interim.
Wickremesinghe was appointed as prime minister in May as the president hoped to revive the country’s collapsed economy and ease tensions. Sri Lanka’s economy has experienced months of turmoil, and the country has been largely relying on aid from outside countries and experiencing severe shortages of food, fuel, and other necessities.
A large group of protesters stormed Wickremesinghe’s office Wednesday morning, and security forces deployed tear gas as several demonstrators attempted to climb the security tower, according to reports. Demonstrators said they would continue to occupy the building until all the nation’s leaders resign, echoing demands that have prompted months of protests.
Wickremesinghe previously vowed to resign, although he did not offer a timeline, signaling he would wait for the country’s political parties to agree on a new government before doing so.