Amid the intensifying crisis, the Sri Lankan cabinet resigns. The South Asian nation is facing severe shortages of food, fuel, and other essentials — along with record inflation and crippling power cuts in its most painful downturn since independence from Britain in 1948. Sri Lanka’s entire cabinet aside from the president and his sibling prime minister resigned from their posts as the ruling political clan seeks to resolve a mounting economic crisis, with a social media blackout failing to halt another day of anti-government demonstrations. All 26 ministers in the cabinet aside from President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his elder brother Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa submitted letters of resignation at a late-night meeting, education minister Dinesh Gunawardena told reporters. The move clears the way for the president to appoint a new cabinet on Monday — and some of those stepping down may be reappointed. Internet service providers were ordered to block access to Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter and several other social media platforms but the blackout did not deter several small demonstrations elsewhere in Sri Lanka. A critical lack of foreign currency has left Sri Lanka struggling to service its ballooning $51-billion foreign debt, with the pandemic torpedoing vital revenue from tourism and remittances. Diesel shortages have sparked outrage across Sri Lanka in recent days, causing protests at empty pumps, and electricity utilities have imposed 13-hour blackouts to conserve fuel. Colombo imposed a broad import ban in March 2020 to save foreign currency needed to service its $51bn in foreign debt. But this has led to widespread shortages of essential goods and sharp price rises.
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