Former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to return Sri Lankan on September 3: reports
Rajapaksa (73) fled the country on July 13 after months of public protests demanding his immediate resignation. Protesters stormed the President's House in Colombo and several other state buildings in the capital on July 9.
Former Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who fled the country following an uprising against his government over the island's worst-ever economic crisis, may return to the country on Saturday from Thailand, according to media reports on Thursday.
Rajapaksa (73) fled the country on July 13 after months of public protests demanding his immediate resignation gained momentum on July 9 after protesters stormed the President's House in Colombo and several other state buildings in the capital.
Rajapaksa will return to the country on Saturday, according to a source close to him, as per the Daily Mirror news portal.
After flying to the Maldives on a Sri Lanka Airforce plane, the former president flew to Singapore, where he resigned on July 13.
Later, he flew to Thailand in search of temporary refuge. Don Pramudwinai, Thailand's foreign minister, said Rajapaksa can stay in the country for 90 days because he still holds a diplomatic passport.
However, Rajapaksa won't be allowed to participate in political activities in Thailand. He is also said to be confined to a hotel and surrounded by security guards.
Following Rajapaksa's removal, Sri Lanka's parliament elected then-Acting President and six-time Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as the country's new Head of State. Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), the largest bloc in the 225-member parliament, backed him.
According to media reports, President Wickremesinghe plans to return after the SLPP led by the Rajapaksas requested it.
The request was made during a meeting with President Wickremesinghe, according to SLPP General Secretary Sagara Kariyawasam, on August 19.
According to Kariyawasam, they asked the president to facilitate Rajapaksa's return and to provide security and necessary facilities.
Sri Lanka is experiencing its worst economic crisis since its independence in 1948, precipitated by a severe lack of foreign exchange reserves.
The IMF announced Thursday that it would lend Sri Lanka USD 2.9 billion over four years under a preliminary agreement to help the bankrupt island nation overcome its worst economic crisis and protect people's livelihoods.
(With inputs from PTI)