Date: 6 April 2022
On Tuesday, i.e., 5 April 2022, Sri Lanka’s President Gotabaya Rajapaksa lost his parliamentary majority. However, there is no vote of confidence scheduled yet to test the strength of the government or Opposition. Loss of majority was infered from the conduct of a group of law-makers from the ruling party and its allies who sat independently in the House. Rajapaksa’s government is facing enormous public criticism for “mishandling” the country’s economic crisis.
Another significant development was that Ali Sabry, newly appointed Finance Minister, resigned from the Cabinet barely 24 hours after taking charge. Over 40 MPs, including from key ally, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), quit the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP or People’s Front)-led alliance, and the government lost its majority in the 225-member legislature.
The Opposition blamed the government for the current crisis, and called for abolishon of Executive Presidency that allows the President sweeping powers to take unilateral decisions. Demands were also raised to put government’s recently imposed Emergency regulations to vote in the House, as is mandated in the Constitution. However, Mr. Gotabaya revoked the Emergency, ahead of a possible vote on it.
Parliament will convene on Wednesday to debate the country’s economic crisis, which has resulted in severe shortage of essentials for citizens and skyrocketing prices. It has also led to a spontaneous eruption of street protests, with citizens demanding that the President step down.
International Monetary Fund from which Sri Lanka has sought support is monitoring the developments “very closely” amid the growing public unrest.