Sri Lanka Cabinet resigns amid economic crisis

Sri Lanka’s Cabinet of Ministers Sunday reportedly resigned amidst rising public anger against the government over the economic crisis in the country.

All ministers except Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa signed a letter stating their resignation, paving the way  for a new cabinet to be formed. The letter was submitted to the prime minister, who will then hand it over to his brother, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

The mass resignation came less than an hour after Namal Rajapaksa, the country’s Sports Minister and son of Prime Minister Rajapaksa, resigned from all his portfolios. He said in his tweet:I have informed the sec. to the President of my resignation from all portfolios with immediate effect, in hope that it may assist HE & PMs decision to establish stability for the people & the govt of #LKA. I remain committed to my voters, my party & the people of #Hambanthota.”

Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka Ajith Nivard Cabraal followed suit and submitted his resignation to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Monday morning. He tweeted: “In the context of all Cabinet Ministers resigning, I have today submitted my resignation as Governor, to HE President Gotabaya Rajapaksa #SriLanka #GoSL.”

The president on Saturday had announced a 36-hour curfew, exercising the powers vested in him under Section 16 of the Public Security Ordinance (Chapter 40). This was announced ahead of planned mass anti-government protests against worsening shortages of food, fuel and medicine. The announcement came a day after President Gotabaya Rajapaksa imposed a “State of Emergency,” effectively giving sweeping powers to executive authorities “in the interests of public security, protection of public order and maintenance of supplies and services essential to the life of the community.” 

According to internet watchdog NetBlocks, the imposition of the emergency was followed by a nationwide social media blackout, restricting access to platforms including Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube, and Instagram.