Fact Check: President Gotabaya Rajapaksa planning to step down?
Colombo, Apr 20: Amid growing calls for Gotabaya Rajapaksa's resignation over mishandling of Sri Lanka's worsening economic crisis, media reports have claimed that the Sri Lankan President is ready to step down. Opposition leader Sajith Premadasa claimed that Parliament Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardene had assured that President was ready to resign if all political parties request him.
Speaker Abeywardene, however, denied informing party leaders that the President was ready to step down, the Daily Mirror newspaper reported.
"There is a report circulating on social media that I have informed party leaders of the President's willingness to resign if they (party leaders) make a request. I only said the President is ready to handover the government to anyone who commands majority," the Speaker clarified in Parliament.
Sri Lanka, which is on the brink of bankruptcy, is grappling with an unprecedented economic turmoil, the worst since its 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.
The island nation is witnessing large-scale protests against the government's handling of the debt-ridden economy - the worst-ever economic crisis in the country's history.
Protests demanding the resignation of the President and his Sri Lanka Podujana (Peramuna)-led government have intensified as shortages continued and prices soared.
Last week, the Sri Lankan government said it would temporarily default on USD 35.5 billion in foreign debt as the pandemic and the war in Ukraine made it impossible to make payments to overseas creditors.
President Gotabaya ready to step down.
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