Sri Lanka’s acting president declares state of emergency in the country

Sri Lanka’s acting president, Ranil Wickremesinghe, has declared a state of emergency in the Asian country on Monday, as his administration tries to quell social unrest and tackle the economic crisis sweeping the country.

“It is expedient to do so in the interest of public safety, the protection of public order and the maintenance of supplies and services essential to the life of the community,” he has stressed in a statement.

Wickremesinghe took office on Friday after former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa resigned on Thursday after fleeing the country amid massive popular mobilizations against the authorities over the island’s dire economic crisis.

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The also prime minister assured that he will resign once an inclusive government is formed after Rajapaksa’s resignation, although the demonstrators, who have been mobilizing for weeks to protest against the economic crisis and the worsening quality of life, also demanded the resignation of Wickremesinghe.

For his part, the president of the Parliament, Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, confirmed that the new president will be elected on July 20 by the legislative body, a date previously chosen by the leaders of the political parties with representation.

Rajapaksa gave in after several months of protests over rising prices, lack of food, medicine and fuel, which has put the small Asian island in front of its worst economic crisis since it gained independence from the British colonial yoke.

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The popular revolution in Sri Lanka has thus forced the definitive fall of the Rajapaksa family, after Gotabaya forced in early May his brother Mahinda to step down as prime minister in a superfluous attempt to quell the protests.

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