Colombo [Sri Lanka]: Sri Lanka Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, who tendered his resignation on Monday, has recommended the formation of an all-party interim government in his letter to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
Uncertainty looms over who will take over the post of the Prime Minister in the island nation going through one of its most difficult phases, with the principal opposition party, Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), confirming earlier that its leader Sajith Premadasa will not accept the PM’s post in an interim government.
“Effective immediately I have tendered my resignation as Prime Minister to the President,” Mahinda Rajapaksa said in a tweet.
The developments come even as nationwide protests against the government have intensified over the past few days resulting in an increase in incidents of clashes with the security forces deployed at protest sites.
More than a hundred protestors were injured on Monday at the Galle Face protest site during violent clashes resulting in nationwide curfew in the country.
“While emotions are running high in #lka, I urge our general public to exercise restraint and remember that violence only begets violence. The economic crisis we’re in needs an economic solution which this administration is committed to resolving,” Mahinda Rajapaksa said in a tweet shortly before resigning.
Sri Lanka is facing its worst economic crisis since independence with food and fuel shortages, soaring prices and power cuts affecting a large number of the citizens, resulting in massive protests over the government’s handling of the situation.
The recession is attributed to foreign exchange shortages caused by a fall in tourism during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as reckless economic policies, like the government’s move last year to ban chemical fertilizers in a bid to make Sri Lanka’s agriculture “100 per cent organic”.
Due to an acute shortage of foreign exchange, Sri Lanka recently defaulted on the entirety of its foreign debt amounting to about USD 51 billion.
The economic situation has led to huge protests with demands for the resignation of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.