Sri Lanka's president vows to finish term, but won't run for re-election -Bloomberg

FILE PHOTO: Sri Lanka celebrates 74th Independence Day
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COLOMBO (Reuters) - Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa will finish the remaining two years of his term despite months-long street protests calling for his ouster but won’t stand for re-election, he told Bloomberg.

Sri Lanka is suffering its worst economic crisis in decades.

"I have been given a mandate for five years. I will not contest again," Rajapaksa said on Monday in an interview at his official residence in Colombo.

Anti-government protestors blame Rajapaksa and his family for decisions that led to severe shortages of everything from fuel to medicine, stoking inflation of 40% and forcing a historic debt default.

Thousands of demonstrators have camped outside the president’s seaside office since mid-March, forcing him to retreat to his barricaded official residence about a kilometer away.

The economic tailspin spiraled into political turmoil with the resignation of the president’s old brother -- Mahinda Rajapaksa -- as the nation’s prime minister, after clashes between government supporters and the protesters turned bloody in May.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his new Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe are now seeking about $4 billion in aid this year from the International Monetary Fund and countries including India and China.

Sri Lanka’s rupee has lost about 82% over the past year and the central bank on Monday flagged the possibility of a further correction. The nation’s debt is trading in deeply-distressed territory.

(Reporting by Uditha Jayasinghe; Editing by Toby Chopra)