Sri Lanka crisis: President Gotabaya Rajapaksa sacks brother Basil Rajapaksa as Finance Minister

PTIUpdated: Monday, April 04, 2022, 09:34 PM IST
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Sri Lanka's new president Gotabaya Rajapaksa (C) gestures after addressing the nation during his swearing-in ceremony at the Ruwanwelisaya temple in Anuradhapura on November 18, 2019. | Photo by Lakruwan WANNIARACHCHI / AFP

Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Monday fired his brother and Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa from his post and invited the Opposition to join a unity Cabinet to tackle the raging public anger against the hardships caused by the island nation's worst economic crisis. Basil had negotiated the Indian economic relief package to help Sri Lanka tackle the current foreign exchange crisis. He has been replaced by Ali Sabry, who was until Sunday night the Minister of Justice.

Basil was scheduled to leave for the US to meet with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a possible bailout package to get over the unprecedented economic crisis. He was at the center of anger within the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) coalition. Last month, at least two ministers were sacked from the Cabinet as they publicly criticised Basil. On Sunday night, all 26 Cabinet Ministers submitted letters of resignation.

After the resignation of the Cabinet Ministers, at least three other new ministers were sworn in. The new appointments came after President Gotabaya invited all political parties to join a unity Cabinet as part of the government's bid to tackle the raging public anger against the ongoing hardships caused by the island nation's worst economic crisis.

There have been mass public agitations against the ruling Rajapaksa family for its mishandling of the economic situation triggered by the foreign exchange crisis and the balance of payment issues.

The public thronged the streets asking the President to resign. The protests triggered the imposition of curfew after a state of emergency was declared by the President. When the protests intensified, the government clamped a social media ban for 15 hours on Sunday.

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