Sri Lanka’s Rajapaksa Returns Home, Just Weeks After Being Ousted

NEW DELHI – Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the former president of Sri Lanka who was forced to leave the island nation and relinquish power after months of protests the economy is going into the backgroundcome home late on Friday.

Public Security Minister Tiran Alles confirmed Rajapaksa’s arrival in the capital Colombo. Video from local media shows the former president leave the airporaround midnight in a large convoy and to his private residence.

Mr. Rajapaksa falling from grace This summer, just three years after a sweeping victory in the presidential election, seems to have closed the curtain on a mighty dynasty ran the country of 22 million people for most of the past two decades.

But his return home after less than two months shows that the family is still deeply entrenched. Its political party, which still holds a majority in Congress, has regrouped and continues to influence government affairs through an ally whose lawmakers elected the president as successor. his duty.

Ranil Wickremesinghethat successor, took a two-pronged approach as president: He suppressed the protests and those who organized them, while trying to get the economy on track by tightening tight the government purse and negotiate a bailout with the International Monetary Fund.

After months of small protests by farmers and unions, Sri Lanka plunged into a financial crisis this spring as the country’s foreign exchange reserves dwindled for key imports. The coronavirus pandemic has proved a fatal blow to an already dire economic outlook as problematic tax cuts deplete revenue and reckless government spending. Fuel lines stretched for miles, food and medicine began to run out. The power outage lasted up to 12 hours.

A protest movement expanded rapidly, creating a tent city outside the presidential offices along the stunning Galle Face in the capital. Mr. Rajapaksa, who was cornered at the president’s beachfront residence in his final months, fled to the safety of a navy ship as hundreds of thousands of people flocked to the capital on July 9. and shoved at the gate of his last refuge.

When protesters occupied the streets of the capital and lounging in the president’s mansionhe fled to Singapore on a military plane before moving to Thailand in recent weeks.

Skandha Gunasekara Contribution report from Colombo, Sri Lanka.

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