Pushing the ruling Rajapaksa clan in Sri Lanka into a precarious state of rule, more than 40 MPs have left the ruling coalition, which had brought Gotabaya Rajapaksa's regime to the brink of collapse as it has lost the majority in the midst of worsening economic crisis in the country. While the Rajapaksa family has come under fire for sparking the crisis through their flawed economic policies, the latest event had triggered a political crisis.
According to reports, at least 41 Sri Lankan MPs had exited the ruling coalition on Tuesday - April 5 through which the current regime has become the minority government. The names of the 41 lawmakers who left the coalition were announced by party leaders in the parliament. The estranged MPs have said that they have now become independent members. The mass exit has drastically reduced the numbers for Rajapaksa.
In the 225-member house of the Parliament, the Rajapaksa regime currently has less than the majority mark of 113 MPs. Addressing the parliament, Maithripala Sirisena, the former president and leader of the Sri Lankan Freedom Party said, "There are endless shortages of essentials including fuel and cooking gas. Hospitals are on the verge of closing because there are no medicines". His party has withdrawn its support for the ruling coalition.
The opposition parties have also rejected the move to form a unity government comprising all parties represented in parliament. According to Reuters, Sajith Premadasa, leader of Sri Lanka's main opposition alliance said, "There should not be a voice that is contrary to the voice on the streets. And the voice is that there should be change." "What the people want is for this president and the entire government to step down", he added.
Speaking to Reuters, lawyer Luwie Niranjan Ganeshanathan said, "If the government loses its majority, you could see the opposition bringing in a vote of no confidence but there is a parliamentary procedure that goes around it first and is unlikely to happen immediately." He further said, "If a vote of no confidence is adopted, then the president can appoint a new prime minister."
On the other hand, Finance Minister Ali Sabry, who took office on Monday, had resigned on Tuesday - April 5. His resignation has come ahead of the crucial talks that were scheduled with the International Monetary Fund for a loan programme. In his resignation letter, Sabry said that he believed he had acted in the best interests of the country. He had penned, "At this crucial juncture the country needs stability to weather current financial crisis and difficulties."
It must be noted that President Rajapaksa had dissolved the cabinet on Monday and appealed to form a unity government in the midst of growing agitation across the country as hundreds of thousands of people are protesting against the alleged mishandling of the economy by the ruling Rajapaksas, which had led to shortages of food, fuel, and medicines.