Tanee Sangrat, a Thai ministry of foreign affairs spokesperson, said in a social media post Wednesday that Thailand had received a request from Rajapaksa to enter the country.
Sangrat said that as a holder of a Sri Lankan diplomatic passport, Rajapaksa can enter Thailand without a visa for up to 90 days, emphasizing the ousted leader's stay is temporary and he is not seeking political asylum.
Anger had been growing in Sri Lanka for months after foreign exchange reserves plummeted to record lows, as the country's foreign exchange reserves plummeted to record lows, with dollars running out to pay for essential imports such as food, medicine and fuel. The hurried exit of the former leader last month was a historic moment for the nation of 22 million, which the Rajapaksas had ruled with an iron fist for much of the past two decades before losing the faith of their citizens. Rajapaksa is not the first member of the family to have been president. His brother Mahinda Rajapaksa was elected to the top job in 2005 and achieved near legendary status in 2009 when he declared victory in the 26 year civil war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam rebels. At the time, Gotabaya Rajapaksa served as defense secretary, and the brothers were accused by rights groups of committing war crimes - allegations that the family denies. Most recently, many Sri Lankans have accused the Rajapaksas of mishandling the country's economy. The Sri Lankan troops tear down protest camp outside the President's office In the days after Rajapaksa resigned, lawmakers elected former prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as president but anger remains as many protesters see him as inextricably tied to the former leader's regime. Wickremesinghe has distanced himself from the Rajapaksas, telling CNN last month that the previous government was covering up facts about its crippling financial crisis.