Sri Lanka seeks way forward after president quits

People offered food to soldiers in Colombo to celebrate Mr Rajapaksa's departure. Photo Courtesy: EPA via BBC

(BBC): Sri Lanka is seeking a way out of political and economic chaos after its President Gotabaya Rajapaksa resigned and fled the country.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was sworn in as temporary leader on Friday and has the ruling party’s backing to take the role permanently.

This makes him the favourite when a new president is chosen next week, but may prove unacceptable to protesters.

Mr Rajapaksa fled to Singapore, sparking celebrations in the street.

He and his family have been blamed for a deep economic crisis, with Sri Lankans facing acute shortages of food, fuel and other basic supplies.

Businesses and shops reopened in the capital, Colombo, on Friday morning after a curfew was lifted, but soldiers could still be seen on major roads.

At the same time, thousands of people were back in long queues outside petrol stations.

The process of parliament electing a new president will begin on Saturday, with MPs expected to take a vote on 20 July.

After being sworn in as interim leader, Mr Wickremesinghe promised to act quickly to put a democratically elected president in place.