Sri Lanka is preparing for the exit of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who is set to step down early after failing to address an unprecedented economic crisis leading to fuel, gas, medicine, and food shortages.
Mr Rajapaksa is scheduled to resign from his post on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, protesters continue to occupy the president’s official residence and his office and the prime minister’s official residence after storming the buildings on Saturday.
Lawmakers in the capital are discussing the election of a new president, to be decided in a vote on July 20.
Mr Rajapaksa’s elder brother, Mahinda Rajapaksa, was the country’s prime minister until he resigned in May, while their younger brother Basil Rajapaksa quit on June 9.
Basil Rajapaksa, an influential former cabinet minister, arrived at Colombo’s international airport on Tuesday morning but was prevented from boarding his flight as passengers protested.
“We have also decided to keep away from duties at the VIP lounge as more politicians, and their families will try to leave the country,” president of the Immigration and Emigration Officers’ Association, KAAS Kanugala, told dpa.
He also said there had been reports that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was trying to leave the country from the same airport but added that his team did not know about such an attempt.
Meanwhile, protesters and trade unions have threatened to keep protesting until their demand for Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to step down is met.
The premier, whose private residence was burned down last Saturday, has expressed his willingness to step down but has not given a specific date.
However, he is now likely to stand as a candidate for the post of president in the July 20 elections, as he is supported by some of the ruling party members in parliament.
Mr Rajapaksa chose Mr Wickremesinghe to become prime minister when the previous holder of the post resigned on May 9, so he is seen as an ally of the outgoing president.
Protests against the president and the government have been escalating for the past three months due to an unprecedented economic crisis which has sparked fuel, medicine and food shortages.
Sri Lanka has sought support from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a bailout package, but the IMF is demanding political stability as a prerequisite. (dpa/NAN)