Sri Lanka’s Ruling Coalition Loses Parliamentary Majority Amid Mounting Protests

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Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s ruling coalition lost its majority in parliament on Tuesday after at least 41 lawmakers walked out of the alliance amid growing unrest over an economic crisis, according to parliamentary proceedings.
“Our party is on the side of the people,” said Maithripala Sirisena, leader of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party which withdrew its support for Rajapaksa’s coalition.
Ali Sabry, the newly appointed finance minister, has also resigned from his position amid ongoing protests in the country. A state of emergency has also been declared in the country amid mass protests and demands for the president’s resignation. The state of emergency is due to expire on Thursday next week unless it is ratified in a parliamentary vote.
President Rajapaksa dissolved his cabinet and sought to form a unity government to quell public anger, but the opposition has rejected the offer, calling it “nonsensical”. It has demanded Rajapaksa resign over the country’s worsening shortages of food, fuel, and medicines.
Power outages in Sri Lanka have lasted up to 13 hours. Imports of food and medicine have been halted due to a lack of foreign exchange. Due to a serious lack of foreign currency, Sri Lanka is unable to service its $51 billion foreign debt, which has been worsened by a dip in key tourism and remittance revenue caused by the pandemic. Economists say that government mismanagement, years of accumulated debt, and ill-advised tax cuts have exacerbated Sri Lanka’s dilemma.

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