Sri Lanka‘s parliament will hold a vote on July 20 to elect a new president, its speaker has said, to replace President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who has promised to resign by Wednesday

The statement yesterday comes after protesters stormed the residences of the current president and prime minister, prompting both officials to go into hiding amid an economic meltdown.

The process of electing a new president involves calling for nominations among members of the 225-seat parliament, which should be submitted on July 19.

A vote would be held the following day, in keeping with a decision taken at a meeting of political leaders led by parliamentary speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena.

President Rajapaksa had overseen a ruthless crushing of the Tamil Tigers fighters as defence secretary.

His brothers and nephew earlier quit as ministers as Sri Lanka began running out of fuel, food and other essentials in the worst crisis since independence from Britain in 1948.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, whose private home was set alight by protesters, has said he will step down.

His office said Rajapaksa had confirmed his resignation plans to the prime minister, adding that the cabinet would resign once a deal was reached to form an all-party government.

Protesters threatened to call an island-wide strike by Thursday if both leaders have not resigned by that point.


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