Sri Lankan PM Mahinda Rajapaksa’s office refutes resignation news

Mahinda Rajapaksa

The Sri Lankan Prime Minister’s Office on Sunday denied reports that Mahinda Rajapaksa has stepped down from his post.

Media reports had said that amid a worsening economic crisis, PM Rajapaksa tendered his resignation to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who did not immediately accept the resignation. The two Rajapaksas are brothers. A senior journalist said that under Sri Lankan law, the President can accept or reject the PM’s resignation. Such a situation has, however, not arisen till date.
The economic and political crisis in Sri Lanka worsened on Sunday with more than 600 protesters getting arrested in the western province for violating a 36-hour nationwide curfew imposed by the government on Saturday. The protest was organised by social media activists against the economic crisis in the country, which has seen shortages and skyrocketing prices of essential commodities.

In the capital Colombo, heavily armed security forces blocked a march led by opposition leader Sajith Premadasa.

Gotabaya had on Friday declared a public emergency. This was followed by an order imposing the curfew, an apparent bid to foil Sunday’s protest march. Access to major social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter was also restricted following the curfew order. Subsequently, the restrictions were removed.

Sri Lanka is currently experiencing its worst economic crisis in history. With long lines for fuel, cooking gas, essentials in short supply and long hours of power cuts, the public has been suffering for weeks.

A severe shortage of foreign currency has left the government unable to pay for essential imports, including fuel, leading to debilitating power cuts lasting up to 13 hours.