Sri Lanka’s economy is in serious trouble, with inflation soaring and officials struggling to import fuel, food and medicine. The country is in the middle of negotiations with the IMF for an emergency loan, but the talks are a bit complicated because Sri Lanka is officially a bankrupt country. The government points to COVID as to why the country is in its current situation; however, Sri Lankans blame it on bad government management.
This situation has led to intense protests, with protesters demanding President Rajapaksa step down. On Saturday, a bunch of violent protests led to protestors breaking into Rajapaksa’s residence and setting Prime Minister Wickremesinghe’s house on fire. While neither was at home, both have agreed to step down on July 13 “to ensure a peaceful handover of power."
“We hope for a resolution of the current situation that will allow for resumption of our dialogue on an IMF-supported program," the IMF said in a statement.
“When the whole country is under such strain, people have come here to release that pressure. When you see the luxuries in this house it is obvious that they don’t have time to work for the country," Chanuka Jayasuriya, a protestor, told Reuters.
“He asked me to inform the country that he will make his resignation on Wednesday the 13th because there is a need to hand over power peacefully," said Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena in a statement on TV. “Therefore there is no need for further disturbances in the country, and I urge everyone for the sake of the country to maintain peace to enable a smooth transition."