Previously, we confirmed that Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is in Singapore for a “private visit”.
Many things happened since then: he is now the former Sri Lankan president, his replacement is facing accusations of being a proxy leader, and Rajapaksa is now staying in Singapore for 14 more days.
Here’s what’s going on.
Sri Lanka’s Worst Economic Crisis
The island country in South Asia is currently in its worst economic crisis, and people aren’t happy with the Government— in particular, its president, 73-year-old Gotabaya Rajapaksa. The crisis has been ongoing since 2019, and it got worse due to COVID-19.
There had been protests in the country, but the situation finally hit the fan when protestors managed to break into government buildings and even into Rajapaksa’s residence.
He fled his official residence and on 13 July, he said that he was going to resign. He arrived in Singapore on 14 July, and resigned shortly after arrival.
Extended Short Term Visit Pass (STVP)
Rajapaksa was initially given a 14-day STVP, but that has just been extended for another 14 days.
This means that he can stay in Singapore till 11 August.
According to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Rajapaksa has been allowed entry into Singapore on a private visit. He has not asked for asylum and neither has he been granted any asylum. Singapore generally does not grant requests for asylum.
Additionally, a Sri Lankan Cabinet spokesperson said on 26 July that he believes the former president “may eventually consider returning” to Sri Lanka.
According to the spokesperson, Rajapsaksa isn’t in hiding, and will be treated as a former president upon his return.
Replacement Accused Of Being A Proxy
The person who replaced Rajapaksa as president is his ally and six-time prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe. He was sworn in on 21 July.
However, Wickremesinghe has been accused of being a proxy of the Rajapaksa dynasty, which has been ruling over Sri Lanka for the majority of the past 20 years. This means that Rajapaksa is allegedly still the person making the decisions through Wickremesinghe.
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