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Sri Lanka president proposes multiparty Cabinet amid crisis

Sri Lanka’s president asked opposition parties to form a unity government on April 4 after his Cabinet resigned amid public protests over the country’s worst economic crisis in memory and deepening mistrust in his leadership. All 26 ministers of the Rajapaksa government handed in their resignations Sunday night after thousands of people held street protests denouncing the government despite a countrywide state of emergency and a curfew.

April 04, 2022 / 06:28 PM IST
Sri Lanka’s president asked opposition parties to form a unity government on April 4 after his Cabinet resigned amid public protests over the country’s worst economic crisis in memory and deepening mistrust in his leadership. All 26 ministers of the Rajapaksa government handed in their resignations Sunday night after thousands of people held street protests denouncing the government despite a countrywide state of emergency and a curfew. (Image: AP)
Sri Lanka’s president asked opposition parties to form a unity government on April 4 after his Cabinet resigned amid public protests over the country’s worst economic crisis in memory and deepening mistrust in his leadership. All 26 ministers of the Rajapaksa government handed in their resignations Sunday night after thousands of people held street protests denouncing the government despite a countrywide state of emergency and a curfew. (Image: AP)
Both the president and his older brother Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa will stay on despite their entire family, in whom Sri Lanka's political power had been concentrated, being the center of public ire. Two more brothers of the powerful ruling family, Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa and Irrigation Minister Chamal Rajapaksa, were among those who resigned, along with the prime minister's son Sports Minister Namal Rajapaksa. (Image: AP)
Both the president and his older brother Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa will stay on despite their entire family, in whom Sri Lanka's political power had been concentrated, being the center of public ire. Two more brothers of the powerful ruling family, Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa and Irrigation Minister Chamal Rajapaksa, were among those who resigned, along with the prime minister's son Sports Minister Namal Rajapaksa. (Image: AP)
The resignations are seen as an effort to pacify the people's anger at the Rajapaksa family while retaining the crucial executive, defense and law-making powers in the family. If opposition leaders do not accept the president's invitation, there will be continued uncertainty and protests. Should the opposition accept, it will face an uphill battle to regain the public's trust. (Image: AP)
The resignations are seen as an effort to pacify the people's anger at the Rajapaksa family while retaining the crucial executive, defense and law-making powers in the family. If opposition leaders do not accept the president's invitation, there will be continued uncertainty and protests. Should the opposition accept, it will face an uphill battle to regain the public's trust. (Image: AP)
As protests grew and calls increased for him to step down, Rajapaksa at midnight on April 1 assumed emergency powers by decree. The government also declared a countrywide curfew which was lifted on April 4. (Image: AP)
As protests grew and calls increased for him to step down, Rajapaksa at midnight on April 1 assumed emergency powers by decree. The government also declared a countrywide curfew which was lifted on April 4. (Image: AP)
Sri Lankans including professionals, students and mothers with small children defied an emergency decree and curfew on April 3 to demand the president’s resignation. A couple joined the same rally straight from the hospital with their newborn. They were greeted with cheers by the protesters who sang Sri Lanka’s national anthem and waved flags and placards. (Image: AP)
Sri Lankans including professionals, students and mothers with small children defied an emergency decree and curfew on April 3 to demand the president’s resignation. A couple joined the same rally straight from the hospital with their newborn. They were greeted with cheers by the protesters who sang Sri Lanka’s national anthem and waved flags and placards. (Image: AP)
Near Sri Lanka's capital Colombo, students demonstrated and dispersed without incident, while armed soldiers and police stopped opposition lawmakers from marching to the iconic Independence Square. Police fired tear gas and water cannons at hundreds of university students who were trying to break through barricades near the town of Kandy in the tea-growing region. (Image: AP)
Near Sri Lanka's capital Colombo, students demonstrated and dispersed without incident, while armed soldiers and police stopped opposition lawmakers from marching to the iconic Independence Square. Police fired tear gas and water cannons at hundreds of university students who were trying to break through barricades near the town of Kandy in the tea-growing region. (Image: AP)
For several months, Sri Lankans have endured long lines to buy fuel, cooking gas, foods and medicines, most of which comes from abroad and is paid for in hard currency. The fuel shortage has caused rolling power cuts lasting several hours a day. The extent of the crisis became clear when Sri Lanka couldn’t pay for imports of basic supplies because of its huge debts and dwindling foreign reserves. The country’s usable foreign reserves are said to be less than $400 million, according to experts, and it has nearly $7 billion in foreign debt obligations for this year alone. (Image: AP)
For several months, Sri Lankans have endured long lines to buy fuel, cooking gas, foods and medicines, most of which comes from abroad and is paid for in hard currency. The fuel shortage has caused rolling power cuts lasting several hours a day. The extent of the crisis became clear when Sri Lanka couldn’t pay for imports of basic supplies because of its huge debts and dwindling foreign reserves. The country’s usable foreign reserves are said to be less than $400 million, according to experts, and it has nearly $7 billion in foreign debt obligations for this year alone. (Image: AP)
Rajapaksa last month said his government was in talks with the International Monetary Fund and turned to China and India for loans while he appealed to people to limit the use of fuel and electricity and “extend their support to the country.” While public resentment is mostly on the Rajapaksa family, anger was also directed at politicians in general and a decades-long system that many feel has betrayed them. At the Colombo rally, protesters turned back an opposition lawmaker, calling out, “No politicians!” (Image: AP)
Rajapaksa last month said his government was in talks with the International Monetary Fund and turned to China and India for loans while he appealed to people to limit the use of fuel and electricity and “extend their support to the country.” While public resentment is mostly on the Rajapaksa family, anger was also directed at politicians in general and a decades-long system that many feel has betrayed them. At the Colombo rally, protesters turned back an opposition lawmaker, calling out, “No politicians!” (Image: AP)
Aman Ashraff, an advertising professional who was protesting in his neighborhood, said Sri Lanka has squandered the opportunity to optimize its potential after ending a decades-long civil war in 2009 because of misgovernance. (Image: AP)
Aman Ashraff, an advertising professional who was protesting in his neighborhood, said Sri Lanka has squandered the opportunity to optimize its potential after ending a decades-long civil war in 2009 because of misgovernance. (Image: AP)
On April 3, authorities blocked access for nearly 15 hours to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, WhatsApp and other social media platforms that were used to organize protests. The emergency declaration by Rajapaksa gives him wide powers to preserve public order, suppress mutiny, riot or civil disturbances or for the maintenance of essential supplies. Under the decree, the president can authorize detentions, seizure of property and search of premises. He can also change or suspend any law except the constitution. (Image: AP)
On April 3, authorities blocked access for nearly 15 hours to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, WhatsApp and other social media platforms that were used to organize protests. The emergency declaration by Rajapaksa gives him wide powers to preserve public order, suppress mutiny, riot or civil disturbances or for the maintenance of essential supplies. Under the decree, the president can authorize detentions, seizure of property and search of premises. He can also change or suspend any law except the constitution. (Image: AP)
Associated Press
first published: Apr 4, 2022 06:28 pm
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