Sri Lanka's president resigns; parliament meets Saturday

Speaker of Sri Lanka's Parliament says President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has resigned & Parliament will choose a new leader after large protests over the country's economic collapse. 

Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardana says parliament will meet Saturday to elect a president. He'll finish in a week. 

The incoming president will serve until 2024. This individual might select a new prime minister, who would need Parliament's approval. 

Sri Lanka has ran out of money to import food, fertiliser, & fuel, to the dismay of 22 million people. Before the crisis, the economy was developing & the middle class was growing. 

Rajapaksa departed amid rising demonstrations. The speaker said he arrived in Singapore on Thursday, when Rajapaksa resigned. 

Engineer Viraga Perera has been protesting since April & has spent 60 or 70 nights there. "Globally, we led a movement that overthrew a president with minimal violence. 

It's a win-win.” Thursday protesters vacated government buildings, restoring calm in Colombo. With a fragmented political opposition in Parliament, Sri Lanka's problems seemed intractable. 

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe reportedly declared the country's finances are so bad that even a bailout is difficult. 

The country remains a powder keg, & the military warned Thursday that it could respond to unrest. Abeywardana promised a quick, transparent election. 

"I want the dignified & loving residents of this country to establish a calm atmosphere so parliament can function freely & conscientiously," he said Friday. 

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