Sri Lanka's President Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled his official residence today shortly before protesters demanding the leader's resignation amid an unprecedented economic crisis overran the compound of the presidential palace in Colombo even entering his nearby office.
Shortly after Mr Rajapaksa was escorted to safety, videos emerged of suitcases being loaded on a Sri Lanka Navy ship with local media claiming that the suitcases were of the incumbent President.
Mr Rajapaksa's sudden departure has raised questions as to whether he will remain in office and if not, what happens next in the crisis-hit country.
What Sri Lankan Constitution says in case President resigns?
Sri Lankan Constitution says that if the office of President becomes vacant prior to the expiration of his term of office, Parliament shall elect the President from one of its members. The successor will hold office for the rest of the period of the term of the office of the resigning President.
How soon will this process be initiated?
Such a process must be initiated within a month of the President's resignation.
How will the process take place?
Parliament should meet within three days of the President's resignation. At such a meeting, the Secretary-General of Parliament is required to inform the Parliament about the President's resignation. If more than one person is nominated for the post, a secret ballot should be taken, and the person should be elected by an absolute majority of votes cast.
What happens in the period before the selection of the new President?
According to the presidential line of succession in Sri Lanka, the next in line to be President for the period will be the Prime Minister. Thus Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe could become the Acting President for less than a month until the Parliament elects a new President. Till this time, the Prime Minister shall appoint one of the other ministers of the Cabinet to act in the office of Prime Minister, if needed.