Sri Lanka Latest: Succession in Focus After Tumultuous Weekend


Anusha Ondaatjie and

Asantha Sirimanne11 July 2022 at 04:17 BSTUpdated on

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Sri Lanka’s opposition parties are trying to cobble together an all-party government and pick candidates who can take over after President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe agreed to step down, giving in to popular pressure in a country struggling to pay for essentials.  

Rajapaksa will step down on Wednesday to allow for a smooth transfer of power, the parliament speaker announced on television late Saturday. The president left his residence before the protesters breached security and entered his official home and offices and his whereabouts are unknown. 

Protesters set fire to Wickremesinghe’s private residence Saturday, hours after he said he would step down after holding the job for two months. Wickremesinghe is safe, his office said in a text message, without elaborating.

International Monetary Fund representatives said they plan to continue technical discussions with the finance ministry and the central bank.  Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US was closely watching the developments and urged the government to address popular discontent. 

 Key Developments 

(All times Sri Lankan)

Diesel Shipment Delayed as Fuel Shortage Persists (11:15) a.m.

Sri Lanka’s fuel distribution is limited mostly to Lanka Indian Oil Corp as stocks held by the state-run Ceylon Petroleum Corp remains depleted, according to the Energy Ministry spokesman.

A delivery of diesel from supplier Coral Energy, that was expected by July 9 has been delayed. A shipment from Vitol is due between July 11-14, while supplies of petrol from the IOC are expected to reach by July 22-23.

Coral Energy is scheduled to deliver crude oil consignments on July 15 and Aug 12, the government spokesman said, without giving details of volumes.

Army Denies Firing at Protesters (10:55) a.m.

The army said it only fired rounds into the air and into sidewalls to prevent angry protesters from breaching the security of the president’s compound.

“The Army categorically denies having opened fire towards the protesters,” a media statement said. “Firing into the air and sidewalls do not therefore necessarily mean that those Army personnel on duty were intent on causing deliberate harm to the protesters.”

The army’s statement follows comments on social media that troops fired live rounds at the crowds.

Rajapaksa Informs PM of Intent to Resign (8:15 a.m.)

Rajapaksa has officially informed Wickremesinghe that “he will be resigning as previously announced,” a statement from the prime minister’s office said Monday.

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