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Sri Lankan lawmakers will elect a new president within seven days, the parliament speaker said after he confirmed that embattled leader Gotabaya Rajapaksa had officially resigned.

Rajapaksa had ceded to the months-long street protests calling for his ouster over fuel shortages, surging prices and financial mismanagement that’s left the South Asian nation facing its worst economic crisis.

“My intention is to complete this task successfully at the earliest,” parliament speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena said in a televised announcement. “With the proud distinction of being South Asia’s oldest democracy, we will conduct this in the most democratic and transparent way.”

The resignation and the selection of a new president could mark a turning point for the bankrupt country, which is negotiating a bailout with the International Monetary Fund and seeking dollars to pay for essential imports.

The speaker called for support from all parties, including the security forces, to help ensure a smooth transition and transfer of power. The process to select a new president will kick off with parliament convening July 16, Yapa Abeywardena said.

Rajapaksa last weekend had announced his intention to quit after angry protesters swarmed his official residence and office, but missed a July 13 deadline after fleeing to the Maldives.

Following a brief stop in the Indian Ocean archipelago, Rajapaksa on Thursday arrived in Singapore in what the city-state’s foreign ministry said was a private visit.

The resignation and the selection of a new president mark a turning point for the bankrupt country, which is negotiating a bailout with the International Monetary Fund and seeking dollars to pay for essential imports.

Sri Lanka’s opposition parties are now trying to cobble together an all-party government and pick candidates who can take over from Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

The speaker on Friday reiterated that Wickremesinghe would be the interim president until the new appointment was made.

With Rajapaksa resigning first, Wickremesinghe, who had been leading talks with the IMF in his capacity as finance minister, could play a role in shaping the incoming government — a scenario likely to be opposed by protesters and many lawmakers.

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