Sri Lanka economic crisis: Embattled PM Mahinda Rajapaksa resigns
The development came on a day supporters of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa attacked anti-government demonstrators in the city of Colombo.
Under pressure to step down over Sri Lanka's worsening economic crisis, which has triggered protests across the island nation, Mahinda Rajapaksa, the country's prime minister, announced on Monday he has resigned from office. “Effective immediately, I have tendered my resignation as Prime Minister to the President,” he tweeted.
“The prime minister has sent his resignation to the President,” a government official said, on the condition of anonymity.
The decision came on a day supporters of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa--Mahinda's younger brother--attacked anti-government demonstrators in Colombo, leaving at least 78 people injured. “While emotions are running high in #Ika, I urge our general public to exercise restraint & remember that violence only begets violence. The economic crisis we're in needs an economic solution which this administration is committed to resolving,” the now-former premier had said in a tweet shortly after the violence.
Following the clashes, authorities clamped a nationwide curfew. Sri Lanka is already under a state of emergency for the second time this year.
The south Asian country of 22 million inhabitants is facing its worse economic crisis since 1948, when it became free from British rule. The ongoing protests started in early March; agitators have squarely blamed the Rajapaksa family for the crisis. Several members of the family, including Mahinda Rajapaksa' son Namal, were ministers in the national government until April 3, when the entire cabinet resigned en masse.
Gotabaya Rajapaksa has, till now, rejected calls to resign.
Mahinda Rajapaksa served two terms each as the prime minister and President of Sri Lanka.