Sri Lanka’s ruling party has asked the country’s new president to provide security and other aid for his predecessor, who fled Southeast Asia last month, amid a severe economic crisis, an official said on Thursday. After, an official said on Thursday.
Gotabaya Rajapaksa flew to Singapore last month and resigned as Sri Lanka’s presidency, paving the way for veteran politician Ranil Wickremesinghe to win a vote in parliament and take the top post.
Rajapaksa, who has been accused of mishandling the island nation’s economy due to the worst financial crisis in seven decades, is currently in Thailand for a temporary stay.
Sagar Kariyawasam, general secretary of the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna, said his party had approached Wickremesinghe for help with the return of Rajapaksa.
“We requested the president to provide necessary security and facilities for former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to return to the country,” Kariyawasam told Reuters.
“The date of his return has not been decided.”
Local broadcaster NewsFirst said on Wednesday, citing a former ambassador, that Rajapaksa would return home next week.
Earlier on Thursday in an interview with Reuters, Wickremesinghe said he was “not aware” of any such plans for the former president’s return.
A former military officer who took office in 2019 after winning an overwhelming majority of elections, Rajapaksa is the first Sri Lankan president to step down mid-term.
His resignation came after widespread protests in the island nation of 22 million people, and thousands stormed the presidential residence and office in the commercial capital Colombo in early July.
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