Sri Lanka Economic Crisis: Public Emergency Revoked, Rajapaksa Cabinet Resigns – Will there be trust vote?

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa's son Namal Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka's Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs was one of the 26 Cabinet Ministers who resigned from their post. 

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa loses majority in Parliament
Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa loses majority in Parliament

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa issued a Gazette notification on April 5, 2022 revoking the proclamation issued declaring a State of Emergency in Sri Lanka from midnight of April 5th.

The Sri Lankan President had earlier announced an emergency in the country to ensure "public security and maintenance of public order." This comes as anti-government protests continue to take place in the island nation, as it battles a severe economic crisis with major food and fuel shortage.

A health emergency was declared in Sri Lanka on April 5th due to a severe shortage of medicines in the country.

Read Also: Sri Lanka Economic Crisis - 36 Hour Curfew Imposed: How did the country get here, who is helping?

Sri Lanka Economic Crisis

Sri Lanka has been battling a severe economic crisis with food, fuel and electricity scarcity affecting a large number of the people. The economic crisis is attributed to foreign exchange shortages due to the clampdown on tourism during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The island nation has been struggling to pay for essential imports due to a foreign exchange shortage, which has affected its capacity to import fuel and food, leading to record-long power cuts. The country has effectively run out of diesel.

Sri Lanka is also facing a shortage of other essentials like medicines and food and the shortage has resulted in skyrocketing of food prices. 
Sri Lanka's economy has been on a downfall since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. This has forced Sri Lanka to seek help from other nations including India.

India, which is the world’s biggest rice exporter, agreed to provide the $1bn credit line to Sri Lanka to help ease crippling shortages of essential items including fuel, food and medicine. India started supplying rice to Sri Lanka as the first major food aid. India will also be providing shipments of diesel to help Sri Lanka out of this major crisis.

Read Also: Sri Lankan Economic Crisis Explained

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's Cabinet Resigns

  • The 26-member Sri Lankan cabinet submitted letters of resignation on April 3, 2022 except for Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa amid rising public anger against the government over the economic crisis in the country. All 26 Ministers signed a general letter of consenting to resign and pave way for the formation of a new cabinet. 
  • Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa's son Namal Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka's Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs was one of the 26 Cabinet Ministers who resigned from their post.  However, the Sri Lankan Prime Minister will continue to function. There have been no reports of him resigning from his post.
  • A 36-hour long curfew was imposed in Sri Lanka on April 2nd and was lifted on April 4th but the country continued to be under the effect of a state of emergency.
  • The emergency was imposed by Sri Lanka's President Gotabaya Rajapaksa by issuing a Gazette Notification on April 1 to ensure "public security and maintenance of public order."
  • Sri Lankan Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal also submitted his resignation to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on April 4th.

Will there be a trust vote?

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s once-powerful ruling coalition is in deep turmoil after a string of defections. The newly appointed finance minister's resignation just a day after taking office has added to the government's woes. 

Sri Lanka's president lost his parliamentary majority with over a dozen lawmakers withdrawing their support from his government, including 16 lawmakers from the president’s own Sri Lanka Podujana Party (SLPP) and its former coalition allies ahead of the parliamentary session on April 5th.

The Sri Lankan government is now five short of a majority in the 225-member Assembly. However, it is unclear whether the opposition will attempt to introduce a no-trust vote, compelling the government to step down.

The opposition parties have already turned down President Rajapaksa's call to join a unity administration by him and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Sri Lankan President ready to hand over power to whoever proves majority?

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said on April 5, 2022 that he will not step down as Sri Lankan President but is ready to hand over the government to whichever party proves that it has a majority of 113 seats in the Parliament.

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