Sri Lankan prime minister’s office has confirmed that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has fled the country.
Rajapaksa, 73, left for the Maldives hours before he was expected to resign amid widespread protests over his handling of a devastating economic crisis.
The Prime Minister has declared a state of emergency across Sri Lanka and a curfew has been imposed in the western province, a spokesperson in the Prime Minister’s office has said.
Hundreds of protesters in Colombo continue to occupy the official residences of the president and the prime minister after both buildings were stormed on Saturday.
Sri Lanka is currently facing a severe shortage of fuel and other essential supplies and is seeking a bailout from the International Monetary Fund.
Mahinda Yapa Abeywardene, the Speaker of Parliament, has told reporters that President Rajapaksa has informed him that prime minister Wickremesinghe “has been appointed to cover the duties of his post”.
The announcement comes after Wickremesinghe claimed to be acting president and imposed a nationwide state of emergency amid protests at his office.
Sri Lanka’s national television channel Rupavihini has suspended its telecast.
Officials say engineers shut the channel down as throngs of protestors entered the state television office.
Source : Al Jazeera and BBC