The embattled former Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa returned from Thailand on Friday midnight.
Rajapaksa, 73, returned to Katunayake International Airport on a Singapore Airlines flight SQ-468 and a number of current government ministers and politicians from his party, Sri Lanka’s Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) took him welcomed inside the airport.
The former president reportedly went to a state bungalow prepared for him in the heart of Colombo. A house and a security contingent are some of the privileges; a former president is entitled to Sri Lanka.
On July 13, Gotabaya fled to the Maldives on a Sri Lankan Air Force plane and from there to Singapore from where he announced his resignation.
At the request of the Sri Lankan government led by new President Ranil Wickremesinghe, Gotabaya received a 90-day visa from the Thai government.
Rajapaksa was blamed for the economic crisis the country was going through and angry protesters took to the streets on March 31 and surrounded the former president’s private residence outside the state capital, Colombo.
For more than three months, people fought in the streets to demand the resignation of Gotabaya, his older brother, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and the entire government.
Mahinda and his cabinet were forced to resign on May 9, and on July 9, Gotabaya fled his official residence when protesters stormed it.
Navigating Sri Lanka’s worst economic crisis after independence, the International Monetary Fund on Thursday announced a financial rescue package under strict conditions, including political stability, tax reforms, anti-corruption measures and negotiations with multiple creditors.
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