Sri Lanka’s economic crisis has escalated into a political crisis after all 26 cabinet ministers were suspended en masse on Sunday night as the South Asian nation sees growing public anger. It is not yet clear if Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa will accept the dismissal. Demonstrations outside the house of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the imposition of the emergency rule, and a 36-hour nationwide exit were the defining moments of last week. The massive layoffs pave the way for the prime minister to appoint a new cabinet. On Sunday, the country also saw protests by opposition leaders. Sri Lanka’s cabinet stepped in just hours after another South Asian country – Pakistan – saw heightened political developments with Imran Khan calling for new elections because a motion of no confidence against him was rejected.
Here are ten points about the Sri Lankan crisis:
“We apologized to the Prime Minister and said we were ready to leave at any time.” After consulting with the President, the steps to be taken will be decided, “Education Minister Dinesh Gunawardena said in reports from the late night.
The son of the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, Namal Rajapaksa, is among those detained. “I have informed the Sec. To the President of my resignation from all portfolios with immediate effect, in the hope that it can help HE & PMs decide to establish stability for the people and the government of #LKA. I remain committed to my constituents, my party and the people of #Hambanthota. (sic), “he said in a tweet.
On Sunday, Namal Rajapaksa had urged the authorities of his country to “think progressively” after a national ban on social media. “I will never approve of social media blocking. The availability of VPNs, just as I do now, makes such connections completely useless. I call on the authorities to think progressively and reconsider this decision. (Sic), read his post on Twitter.
4. The ban on social media was one of the many restrictions the country saw in an attempt to suppress demonstrations against the government. Access to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social media sites was restricted Saturday night. Fifteen hours later, access to the platforms was back.
5. The action of ministers comes when people are dealing with 13-hour blackouts, shortages of fuel and other essentials amid foreign currency shortages.
Sri Lanka has been devaluing its currency since March, while seeking loans from other nations, trying to put the national economy back on track.
7. In unusual images, thousands gathered outside the president’s house on Thursday, calling for his resignation.
8. The next day, Rajpaksa declared a public emergency, giving him broad powers to maintain public order, suppress mutiny, riots or civil disturbances, or to maintain essential supplies.
9. Last week, US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Julie Chung said, “Sri Lankans have the right to protest peacefully – essential to democratic expression.” “I look closely at the situation and hope that the coming days will bring restraint on all sides, as well as the necessary economic stability and relief for the suffering,” she said in a tweet on Saturday.
10. The president had said last month that his government was in talks with the International Monetary Fund and turned to China and India for loans, while appealing to people to curb the use of fuel and electricity and “extend their support” expand to the land. “
(With input from AFP, AP)