Sri Lanka’s exiled president to head home after Thailand stay

Photo via Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Sri Lanka’s exiled president is planning to finally head home next week after staying in Thailand. The ousted leader, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, has been on quite a journey ever since 100,000 angry protesters forced him to flee Sri Lanka on July 14.

He first travelled to the Maldives and then to Singapore, where he was granted a temporary residence but without any talk of amnesty or a long-term stay. He made his way to Thailand after his visa in Singapore expired on August 11. Police had advised him to stay in his hotel in central Bangkok for his safety, with many opposing Gotabaya’s arrival in Thailand.

Now, Gotabaya plans to return to his embattled home country on Wednesday, August 24, Sri Lankan outlet News First reported this week. After Gotabaya fled Sri Lanka, the country’s parliament elected former PM Ranil Wickremesinghe as president. Both officials have been highly criticised by protesters amidst the island nation’s economic crisis. Time will tell how Gotabaya’s return to Sri Lanka will play out.

Some South Asian media outlets have claimed that Gotabaya has also applied for a US green card.

Sri Lanka plunged into chaos in April, after the country experienced a 13-hour power blackout, its longest blackout ever recorded. Since then, the country has been unable to pay for fuel, medicine, and other necessary items.

More and more children in Sri Lanka face malnutrition as the country’s economic crisis is spiralling out of control. The secretary of Sri Lanka’s Ministry for Women and Child Affairs said that out of the 570,000 children under five years old in Sri Lanka, the ministry had counted 127,000 malnourished children in 2021. Earlier this month, several of Thailand’s departments donated over 6 million baht worth of medicines, medical supplies, and food to Sri Lanka.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post | News First

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Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.

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