Sri Lanka Crisis: With brother Mahinda’s resignation, is it the end of the road for Gotabaya?
Colombo, May 10: Mahinda Rajapaksa, known as a man of all seasons quit as Sri Lanka's prime minister on Monday after intensifying anti-government protests over the worst-economic crisis.
In a statement, Mahinda Rajapaksa's office said he was quitting in order to help form an interim, unity government, following weeks of sometimes violent protests across the country over shortages of fuel and other vital imports and spiraling prices.
The protests took violent turn, shots were fired from the prime minister's official residence, as thousands of protesters breached the main gate and torched a parked truck, AFP reported.
At least five people, including a ruling party member of Parliament, were killed; the ancestral home of the Rajapaksa family was set on fire in Hambantota and the houses of several ministers and former ministers were attacked.
Sri Lanka is currently in the throes of unprecedented economic turmoil since its independence from Britain in 1948. The crisis is caused in part by a lack of foreign currency, which has meant that the country cannot afford to pay for imports of staple foods and fuel, leading to acute shortages and very high prices.
The resignation of Mahinda Rajapaksa has only worsened situation for President Gotabaya. It is seen as end of the road for Rajapaksa family as Sri Lankans want Gotabaya to also go.
Will Gotabaya resign?
However, protesters hold Gotabaya more responsible for the ongoing economic crisis.
Amid widespread protest, the president has reimposed emergency in the country. In a desperate bid to find a way out of the crisis, he came up with an interim government under his presidency but in vain. The Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), the single-largest opposition party, in Lanka has rejected the president's offer to join hands.
Meanwhile, former President Maithripala Sirisena also met Premadasa on Saturday to ask the SJB to take over the interim government. Premadasa, 55, has already announced that he would not be a party to any government headed by the two Rajapaksas - Gotabaya and Mahinda.
But it is worth mentioning that the Sri Lankan opposition does not have the majority to form a government of its own.
The situation is only going to go worse amid call for Gotabaya's resignation. But he holding his ground.