Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa has agreed to resign in the face of ongoing protests. It is learned that he took this decision at the request of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at a special cabinet meeting. A report in the Sri Lankan media outlet Colombo Page gave this information, according to the news agency ANI.
According to the report, during the meeting held at the Presidential Palace, younger brother President Gotabaya Rajapaksa requested Mahinda Rajapaksa to step down as Prime Minister. Mahinda Rajapakse responded positively to his request. As a result of his resignation, the cabinet will be dissolved.
Citing several political sources, the report said that Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa would announce his resignation in a special statement on Monday. The cabinet will be reshuffled next week after his announcement.
Meanwhile, a state of emergency has been declared in Sri Lanka to quell the ongoing protests. This is the second time in five weeks that a state of emergency has been declared in Sri Lanka. The state of emergency was declared by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Friday amid nationwide strikes and mass protests. Protests have been raging in the country for some time, demanding the resignation of the president and prime minister, who have been blamed for an unprecedented economic crisis. News AFP
A spokesman for the president said the president had implemented strict laws to ensure law and order was maintained. The state of emergency has been in effect since midnight on Friday.
Earlier, shops and public transport in the country were closed during the strike on Friday. This brought stagnation to the island nation of 22 million people in South Asia, which had been in turmoil for weeks.
Regarding the resignation of the Prime Minister, it was said in the cabinet meeting of Sri Lanka that Mahinda Rajapaksa had agreed to resign due to the failure of the Prime Minister to deal with the ongoing economic crisis in the country. Mahinda Rajapaksa has said that if the only solution to the ongoing crisis is the resignation of the Prime Minister, then he is willing to resign.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has claimed that the economic crisis has been manifested due to the decline in tourists in the country. He acknowledged that the country’s economic and political crisis has become a serious issue in the face of strong protests from the people. He said the situation was due to the absence of tourists. The closure of factories has also become a burden on the existing economic woes.
According to cabinet sources, Prasanna Ranatunga, Nalaka Godahewa, Ramesh Pathirana and other members of the cabinet have agreed to the resignation of Mahinda Rajapaksa. However, Minister Vimalavira Dissanayake disagreed. According to him, this decision will not help the situation. Mahinda’s resignation will prove futile in tackling the country’s crisis.
In the middle of last month, Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa appointed a new 16-member cabinet. The new cabinet was appointed amid strong protests demanding Rajapaksa’s resignation.
Earlier, the president dissolved his cabinet. Gotabaya then called on the opposition to cooperate in forming a new government. Opposition parties have stated they will not run in the by-elections. In such a situation, elder brother Mahinda Rajapaksa was again made the Prime Minister and some members of the party were re-appointed in different posts.
Protests erupted in early April demanding the resignation of Sri Lankan President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. Opposition groups called for the beleagured PM to resign. At that time, the president repeatedly denied it. With the appointment of a new cabinet, Rajapaksa indicated that he would not bow to the protesters’ demands.
Later, in a special meeting at the Presidential Palace, Mahinda Rajapaksa was asked to step down, suggesting that the President had stepped down.