Sri Lanka’s president, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, officially resigned on Friday morning following months of protests.
The formal announcement of Rajapaksa’s resignation was made in a televised address by the Speaker of Parliament, Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena.
Rajapaksa emailed his resignation from Singapore after he fled the country under the cover of darkness, initially to the Maldives.
The former leader fled the country in a military plane after his presidential palace and offices were stormed by protesters last weekend.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka’s prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, has been sworn in as the country’s interim president.
Wickremesinghe was sworn in as the interim president shortly after Rajapaksa’s resignation was formalised, as per the constitution.
He will remain, president, until a vote is held by MPs in parliament and a new president is confirmed.
The vote will take place next week with Wickremesinghe as the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) party candidate.
The fall of Rajapaksa as president follows months of sustained protests calling for him to step down, with many Sri Lankans blaming him for driving the country into its worst economic crisis since independence in 1948.
Sri Lanka is experiencing severe shortages of fuel, food and medicines.
Rajapaksa is currently in the city-state of Singapore, where he fled to on Wednesday, via the Maldives.
His resignation letter was sent late on Thursday night, first via email and then the original dispatched on a diplomatic flight.
The formal announcement was delayed until Friday while the speaker’s office verified the letter.
Reports suggest that Rajapaksa decided to resign from abroad so that he could use his presidential immunity to leave Sri Lanka without being arrested.