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Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa stepped down Thursday after hearing the country amid an economic crisis in the country.

This was announced on Friday by the president of the Sri Lankan parliament Mahinda Yapa Abeyweardana. The country’s parliament will meet on Saturday to start the process of selecting the new president. The country hopes to have a new president within the next seven days.

Rajapaksa fled Sri Lanka on Wednesday after protesters invaded his home and other government offices. Protesters accuse Rajapaksa of stealing money from the government for years. They also accuse his administration of mismanaging the economy by causing it to collapse. Rajapaksa acknowledged that some of his policies contributed to the downfall.

FILE- Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa sings Sri Lankan national anthem during the country’s Independence Day celebration in Colombo, Sri Lanka, February 4, 2022. (AP Photo / Eranga Jayawardena, file)

Months of protests reached a frenzied peak over the weekend as protesters stormed the home and office of the president and the official residence of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. Wickremesinghe’s office was seized on Wednesday.

PRESIDENT OF SRI LANKA FLIES THE COUNTRY, Protesters storm the prime minister’s office as a state of emergency is declared

Protesters initially promised to hold those places until a new government takes office, but the movement changed tactics on Thursday, apparently concerned that any escalation of violence could undermine their message following the previous night’s clashes outside Parliament that have left dozens of injured.

Army officers stand guard as people crowd President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's official residence for the second day after she was stormed in Colombo, Sri Lanka on July 11.

Army officers stand guard as people crowd President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s official residence for the second day after she was stormed in Colombo, Sri Lanka on July 11.
(AP / Rafiq Maqbool)

Rajapaksa’s replacement would serve as president for the remainder of his term, which ends in 2024. The new leader could potentially select a new prime minister, which Parliament would have to approve.

ECONOMIC PROTESTS AFFECT AROUND THE WORLD AS CHALLENGES FROM INFLATION, WAR IN UKRAINE, MONTE CORONAVIRUS

The country of about 22 million people is experiencing a severe shortage of foreign exchange, which has limited essential imports of fuel, food and medicine. The shortage has pushed the island into the worst financial situation of the last 70 years.

Protesters demanding the resignation of Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa swim in a swimming pool inside the Sri Lankan Presidential Palace complex in Colombo on 9 July 2022.

Protesters demanding the resignation of Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa swim in a swimming pool inside the Sri Lankan Presidential Palace complex in Colombo on 9 July 2022.
(AFP via Getty Images)

Sri Lanka has received no fuel shipments in recent weeks, forcing school closures and limiting gasoline and diesel for essential services. Residents skip meals to queue for hours due to lack of fuel.

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And the nation’s inflation levels are skyrocketing. that of Sri Lanka inflation reached 54.6% in June.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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