Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled the island nation last month after a huge crowd stormed his house, capping months of public anger over an unprecedented economic crisis.

The 73-year-old issued his resignation from Singapore, a move celebrated by protesters at home.
The 73-year-old issued his resignation from Singapore, a move celebrated by protesters at home. (Reuters)

Sri Lanka's deposed former president Gotabaya Rajapaksa is seeking to return home from his exile in Thailand and has asked his successor to guarantee his safety, his party has announced.

After an angry mob protesting the country's unprecedented economic crisis stormed his house, the former president was forced to flee with the help of the military and eventually issued his resignation from Singapore.

He has since flown to Thailand but authorities there have warned him not to venture out of his hotel for his own safety, keeping him virtually under hotel arrest.

Rajapaksa's youngest brother Basil, the former finance minister, met with the deposed leader's successor Ranil Wickremesinghe and requested protection to allow his return, their party said in a statement on Friday.

"Basil Rajapaksa requested the president to make arrangements for the former president to return home," the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) party said.

There was no immediate reaction from the new government regarding the request.

READ MORE: Sri Lankan ex-president Rajapaksa arrives in Bangkok after fleeing protests

Controversial tenure

Rajapaksa came to power promising "vistas of prosperity and splendour" in 2019 but saw his popularity plummet as the country's 22 million people endured fuel shortages, blackouts and runaway inflation.

After resigning half-way through his five-year term, Rajapaksa has lost his presidential immunity and could face prosecution for corruption.

Several cases before the Sri Lankan courts stalled after he became president in 2019 but could be revived if he returns.

Sri Lanka's constitution guarantees bodyguards, a vehicle and housing for former presidents.

READ MORE: Sri Lanka president seeks unity government amid economic crisis

Source: AFP