Sri Lankan professionals, students and even mothers with small children defied an emergency decree and curfew on Sunday to demand President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s resignation, holding him responsible for the island nation’s worst economic crisis and shortages of food, fuel and medicines.
For several months, Sri Lankans have endured long lines to buy fuel, foods and medicines, most of which comes from abroad and is paid for in hard currency. The first to disappear from shops was milk powder and cooking gas, followed by a fuel shortage disrupting transport and causing rolling power cuts lasting several hours a day at the end of February.
As protests grew against the government’s mismanagement of the economy, and calls for him to step down, Rajapaksa doubled down and at midnight Friday assumed emergency powers by decree. The government also declared a countrywide curfew until Monday morning. It did little to quell the anger of thousands, many first-time protesters, who felt fed up and exhausted by the crisis.
Late night surprise
Then on Sunday night in a surprising turn of events Sri Lanka’s cabinet resigned en masse from their positions,
All 26 ministers aside from President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his elder brother Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa stepped down, education minister Dinesh Gunawardena told reporters.
“All the ministers submitted their letters of resignation so that the president can constitute a new cabinet,” Gunawardena said, adding that the decision was taken after discussing the worsening economic crisis.
It was unprecedented and analysts say there was something in the air about this sudden announcement.
All party government on the cards?
Ruling coalition party urges President Gotabaya to form all-party government
Sri Lanka’s former president Maithripala Sirisena’s Freedom Party has called on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to form an all-party government to tide over the worst economic crisis.
It’s likely that from past track record President Gotabaya may invite people critical to join him in the cabinet.
It’s maybe a similar move to the controversial appointment of Secretary General of Bodu Bala Sena, Ven. Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera as the head of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) for ‘One Country, One Law’ was given the role.
Because the monk was critical of the President for not implementing ‘one country, one law’- he was given responsibility to implement. President likely to be doing along those lines – give responsibility to the critics to prove they can do a better job. [MDWLive]