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As rumors of his exile spread, President Rajapaksa is seen near an airport – AFP

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President Gotabaya Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka was flown to an airbase close to the country’s primary international airport on Monday (July 11), according to reports from authorities cited by AFP.

The article added that on Saturday, just before tens of thousands of demonstrators overran the property, President Rajapaksa left the presidential palace in Colombo under naval protection, fueling rumors that he might leave for exile abroad.

The resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was announced by the house speaker hours later in order to facilitate a “peaceful transition of power” on Wednesday (13).

Before being transported to the Katunayake airbase, which shares a perimeter fence with the nation’s biggest Bandaranaike temple, the 73-year-old leader had sought refuge at a navy facility, a top defense official told AFP.

He said, “He and his party were taken back to Colombo in two Bell 412 choppers.

Although the President’s administration has not provided any official information regarding his location, a number of local media stories suggested that he would be leaving for Dubai later on Monday.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, according to the office of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, officially informed the prime minister of his desire to step down without giving a deadline.

Ranil Wickremesinghe would automatically take over as President if Gotabaya Rajapaksa leaves as expected until Parliament chooses a member of the legislature to complete his remaining term, which expires in November 2024.

However, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe has expressed his willingness to resign if a unity government can be formed.

The minimum time required to call a meeting of Parliament is three days, and the statute permits a maximum of 30 days for the succession process.

On Monday, long lines gathered to enter the Presidential palace, some of which were longer than the gasoline lines winding across the city.

According to protesters, they won’t disperse until Gotabaya Rajapaksa formally resigns.

For more than three months, protesters camped out in front of the president’s office, calling for his resignation due to the nation’s catastrophic economic crisis.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa is accused of mismanaging the economy to the point where the nation lacks foreign currency to pay for even the most basic imports, leaving the 22 million people in dire straits.

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