Sri Lanka's Former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Returns To Island - Reports

MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 03rd September, 2022) Ex-Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has returned to the island, the Ada Derana news outlet reported on Friday.

Rajapaksa fled the country on July 13 after protesters demanding his resignation stormed the former president's house in Colombo and several other state buildings in the capital. He reached the Maldives on July 12 and then traveled to Singapore, from where Rajapaksa informed the parliament about his resignation. The Singaporean authorities allowed the ex-president to stay until August 11 and clarified that they did not grant him asylum.

Before his return, Rajapaksa had been staying in Thailand. Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha told journalists that Rajapaksa could stay in the country for 90 days because he was holding a diplomatic passport, but he had not asked for political asylum from Thailand.

Sri Lanka has been suffering from the worst economic crisis in its history since gaining independence in 1948. The dire economic situation was caused by shortages of foreign Currency as tourist flows dried up during the COVID-19 pandemic, preventing the country from purchasing enough fuel. The crisis triggered a sharp rise in energy prices and the subsequent shortage of food and basic necessities, as well as constant power outages.

In April, the country defaulted on its external debt obligations, with its debt reaching $51 billion. According to the International Monetary Fund's estimates, Sri Lanka's economy is expected to contract by 8.7% in 2022 and inflation recently exceeded 60%.