In the midst of long-simmering tensions and public outcry that were spurred by the worst economic crisis, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa (76) has on Monday - May 9 resigned from his post at a high time when his family has been accused of mishandling the economy and administration that has led to a historical downfall where the Sri Lankan people are pushed to brace up the unprecedented wave of inflation and political uncertainty.
Sri Lanka has been witnessing incessant agitations against the ruling Rajapaksa clan for the deepening economic crisis with the protesters demanding the Rajapaksas step down from the reign. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who is the younger brother of Mahinda Rajapaksa, has directed the moves of appointing new cabinet members and seeking financial aid from neighbouring India to not let the protests turn aggressive towards his family. The Rajapaksas had refused to step down and imposed a curfew to restrict the protests.
However, as tensions and protests were escalating against the ruling family, Mahinda Rajapaksa has on Monday tendered his resignation to his younger brother, who is the President. According to Reuters, a Sri Lankan government official has said, "The Prime Minister has sent his letter of resignation to the President." His resignation has come hours after his supporters had attacked the protesters who have camped outside the President's office. The attack has left at least 78 people injured and it has triggered the government to impose a nationwide curfew.
As the sequel to the violence that was spurred by Mahinda's supporters, the government has deployed army troops in the nation's capital Colombo. Besides his resignation, two cabinet ministers have also resigned from their posts. The reports say that the violence has erupted after the pressure mounted on the embattled government led by Gotabaya Rajapaksa to form an interim administration to overcome the worst economic crisis facing the country.
Sri Lanka's Daily Mirror has reported that Gotabaya Rajapaksa, in a special meeting last Friday, had requested his elder brother Mahinda to step down as a solution to the ongoing political crisis in the island nation. Following Mahinda's resignation, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is expected to invite all the political parties in Parliament to form an all-party cabinet.
Ahead of his resignation, Mahinda responded to the violence in a tweet in which he wrote, "While emotions are running high, I urge our general public to exercise restraint & remember that violence only begins violence. The economic crisis we are in needs an economic solution which this administration is committed to resolving." However, his message to curb the violence didn't land well on the people including the prominent figures.
Former Sri Lankan cricketer Kumar Sangakkara had blamed Mahinda for the violence. He said, "The only violence was perpetrated by your supporters - goons and thugs who came to your office first before going on to assault the peaceful protestors." The worst economic crisis in Sri Lanka was sparked by a lack of foreign currency, which has meant that the country cannot afford to pay for imports of staple food and fuel, leading to acute shortages and very high prices.