"To facilitate this, I will resign"
Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told political leaders he was willing to step down and make way for a new government.
Party leaders demanded both he and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa step down on the day protesters stormed the president’s residence and office.
The prime minister’s spokesman said Wickremesinghe told party leaders that he would resign when all parties have agreed on forming a new government.
Taking to Twitter, Wickremesinghe said: “To ensure the continuation of the Government including the safety of all citizens I accept the best recommendation of the Party Leaders today, to make way for an All-Party Government.
“To facilitate this I will resign as Prime Minister.”
Wickremesinghe decided fuel distribution will recommence and the debt sustainability report for the International Monetary Fund was due to be finalised shortly, according to a statement from his media office.
To ensure the continuation of the Government including the safety of all citizens I accept the best recommendation of the Party Leaders today, to make way for an All-Party Government.
To facilitate this I will resign as Prime Minister.
— Ranil Wickremesinghe (@RW_UNP) July 9, 2022
Party leaders in Sri Lanka at a meeting reportedly requested Rajapaksa and Wickremesinghe to step down following months of popular unrest that culminated in the storming of the presidential palace and office.
Earlier, Wickremesinghe held initial talks with some party leaders before the parliament Speaker chaired a meeting to decide on the next steps to resolve the crisis in Sri Lanka.
Local media reported that Rajapaksa had informed Wickremesinghe that he would respect the decision taken at the party leaders’ meeting.
? Protesters cool down in President's swimming pool after storming his official residence in Fort. pic.twitter.com/jROaa4NDWy
— NewsWire ?? (@NewsWireLK) July 9, 2022
President Rajapaksa’s whereabouts were not known after he was moved out of his residence ahead of the protests during which thousands of protesters stormed into his residence in Colombo.
Scores of protesters jumped into the president’s swimming pool after storming his house, while others roamed across the overlooking balcony.
A group of lawmakers from the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna have written to Rajapaksa to step aside and provide an opportunity for another leader to take over with a clear parliament majority.
Local media reported at least 16 lawmakers had signed the letter.
Sri Lanka’s lawyers’ body also questioned Rajapaksa’s ability to remain in power after thousands of protesters stormed into his residence.
At least 30 people were injured in clashes between security personnel and protesters.
Rajapaksa was using the President’s House as his residence and office since protesters came to occupy the entrance to his office in early April 2022.
Sri Lanka is facing its worst economic crisis since gaining independence from Britain in 1948.
The crisis is caused in part by a lack of foreign currency, which has meant that the country cannot afford to pay for imports of staple foods and fuel, leading to acute shortages and very high prices.