Sri Lankan President appoints 17 new Cabinet Ministers to battle Economic Crisis

The 17 new Cabinet Ministers do not include relatives of President Rajapaksha unlike the previous cabinet apart from the Prime Minister. 

Sri Lankan President appoints 17 new Cabinet Ministers to battle Economic Crisis
Sri Lankan President appoints 17 new Cabinet Ministers to battle Economic Crisis

Sri Lankan Cabinet Ministers 2022: Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa appointed a new cabinet with 17 Ministers on April 18, 2022 amid anti-government protests to try and mitigate the nation's spiraling economic and political crisis. This is the third cabinet reshuffle by the resident. The cabinet comprises eight former Ministers and the rest all are new faces. 

The new Cabinet Ministers have been appointed to ensure the smooth functioning of the administration. They were all sworn in at the President's house. The new cabinet was appointed nearly two weeks after the previous cabinet comprising 26 ministers had resigned from their respective portfolios amid the island nation's worst economic crisis. The entire cabinet had put in its resignation on April 3rd except for Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The members who resigned included Rajapaksha family members including the youngest and eldest of Rajapaksha brothers, Basil and Chamal who held finance and agricultural portfolios respectively and Prime Minister's son Namal Rajapaksha. 

Read Also: Sri Lanka announces default on all its $51 billion external debt: What does this mean?

No Rajapaksha members in new Sri Lanka Cabinet 

Just a day after the cabinet resigned en masse, Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa had appointed four Ministers to maintain the legitimacy and stability of Parliament and other functions of the country. However, the newly-appointed Finance Minister Ali Sabry resigned less than 24 hours after his appointment.

The 17 new Cabinet Ministers do not include several relatives of President Rajapaksha unlike the previous cabinet apart from the Prime Minister. The three Ministers who were sworn in earlier will also retain their positions. The newly sworn-in cabinet ministers also include Ali Sabry who had resigned from his post earlier. 

What is causing Sri Lanka's worst economic crisis?

Sri Lanka is facing its worst economic crisis since independence from Britain in 1948. The crisis has been triggered by a lack of foreign currency, which means that Sri Lanka cannot afford to pay for even crucial imports including fuel and staple food, leading to acute shortage and inflation. The fuel shortage has led to record-long power cuts. The nation is also facing a shortage of food and essential medicines. 

Mass Protests demanding the resignation of President Rajapaksha The crisis has triggered mass protests across the country with thousands of people defying the curfew to protest and demand for the resignation of the Rajapaksa family, which had returned to power in November 2019. Even after the mass resignation of the cabinet, the President and Prime Minister have refused to step down. 

Both President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his elder brother Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, have addressed the nation in an apparent attempt to placate protesters but the calls for the president to resign have only grown louder.

The President had called on the opposition to form a joint unity government but the offer was turned down by the opposition. 

What is the way out for Sri Lanka?

While Sri Lanka is awaiting the International Monetary Fund to bail it out of its economic crisis, the nation announced that it would be temporarily defaulting on all its foreign debts. The nation has also sought bridging finance from India till a bailout by the International Monetary Fund. 

Read Also: Sri Lankan Crisis 2022: Why is Sri Lanka facing food, fuel & electricity shortage? Curfew in Colombo lifted

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