Sri Lanka’s embattled President fled the country on Tuesday, after protesters forced their way into the Presidential Palace and forced him and the Prime Minister to resign.
According to reporting from the BBC, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa arrived in the Maldives in a military jet at 03:00 local time. The President had previously confirmed that he would resign but fled the island nation before doing so — while in office he was immune from prosecution, and observers suggest that he likely wanted to escape the country before surrendering his legal immunity and opening himself up to arrest by a successor government. Rajapaska had been in hiding for several days after protestors stormed the palace.
“When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice; when the wicked rule, the people groan.” Proverbs 29:2
His exile likely marks the end of a familial dynasty that dominated Sri Lankan politics for decades. Rajapaska’s brother, Mahinda, was lionized by many Sinhalese Sri Lankans after his government defeated Tamil separatists in 2009, concluding a long and gruesome civil war that wracked the multiethnic state for decades.
“It is no secret that the majority who voted for me then were Sinhalese,” Rajapaksa told parliament in 2020. “They rallied because they had legitimate fears that the Sinhala race, our religion, national resources, and the heritage would be threatened with destruction in the face of various local and foreign forces and ideologies that support separatism, extremism, and terrorism.”
Another brother, Basil Rajapaska, was the president’s minister and is believed to have fled the country as well; sources claim that he’s headed to the US. It is unclear who exactly will succeed the outgoing president.
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