Sri Lanka's acting president stepped down: report

TEHRAN, Jul. 13 (MNA) – Sri Lanka's acting president and prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, has asked the Parliament Speaker to nominate a new president, his media team said on Wednesday after President Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled the country.

Ranil Wickremesinghe, who was named acting president of Sri Lanka on Wednesday as its political and economic crisis deepened, is tantalizingly close to the pinnacle of power but may not get much time to enjoy it.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, 73, left for the Maldives hours before he was expected to resign amid widespread protests over his handling of a devastating economic crisis.

Ranil Wickremesinghe has declared a state of emergency across the island nation, with the parliament speaker saying Wickremesinghe has been appointed acting president by Rajapaksa, Al Jazeera reported.

Thousands of anti-government protesters have stormed into Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s office, hours after he was named as acting president.

Men and women breached military defences and entered the premier’s office on Wednesday to raise national flags, after police and troops failed to hold back crowds despite firing tear gas and water cannon.

Some protesters scaled the walls of the office as the crowd roared in support and tossed water bottles to those charging in.

Protesters are demanding the resignation of Wickremesinghe, who was declared acting president after President Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled the country earlier on Wednesday.

Rajapaksa escaped to the Maldives hours before he had promised to resign over a devastating economic crisis.

MA/PR

News Code 189062

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