crisis política en Sri Lanka

New leadership in Sri Lanka

For hours yesterday, it was not clear who was in charge of Sri Lanka.

The president, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, fled to the Maldives overnight — but did not resign. His appointed replacement, Ranil Wickremesinghe, moved from his role as prime minister to become acting president yesterday. Wickremesinghe had previously said he would resign.

After the transfer of power, crowds took over Wickremesinghe’s office and the state broadcaster. In his first address as acting president, Wickremesinghe declared a curfew and referred to some protesters as a “fascist threat.”

Details: The military met protesters with tear gas yesterday. One man died of exposure, a rights group said.

Analysis: Protesters are calling for a wholesale change in leadership, whom they blame for nearly running the country into bankruptcy. Wickremesinghe is unlikely to satisfy their demands: He has been prime minister six times and is viewed as a protector of the Rajapaksa family.

Background: Food, fuel and medicine are in critically short supply. Prices have soared, power cuts have become the norm and public transportation has often been suspended to shore up fuel supplies.

14-VII-22, nytimes