Sri Lankan president appoints new Cabinet of 17 ministers amid protests against him: Report

Updated on Apr 18, 2022 11:37 AM IST

The swearing-in of the new ministers is likely to take place on Monday amid spiralling anti-government protests.

A demonstrator holds a Sri Lankan national flag during a protest against Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in Colombo.(REUTERS)
A demonstrator holds a Sri Lankan national flag during a protest against Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in Colombo.(REUTERS)
By | Written by Aniruddha Dhar, New Delhi

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has appointed a new cabinet of 17 ministers amid the ongoing anti-government protests in the country following the economic and political crisis, news agency ANI reported citing the Sri Lankan media. The swearing-in of the ministers is likely to take place on Monday amid spiralling protests, it added.

"New cabinet is to be sworn in today. President and PM (Mahinda Rajapaksa) to continue. Some new and young faces will be taken in as Cabinet ministers," ANI quoted a ruling party MP as saying.

Recently, the entire the Sri Lankan cabinet had resigned due to massive protests. 

Reports suggest that an opposition party in Sri Lanka opposed the decision of the president to appoint a new cabinet with inexperienced ministers.

Sri Lanka was in a deep economic crisis when the Covid-19 pandemic hit, reducing foreign-worker remittances and crippling the lucrative tourism sector -- one of the main sources of dollars for the economy.

Last week, the government announced a sovereign default on its huge foreign debt and the Colombo Stock Exchange announced trading would be halted for five days from Monday amid fears of a market collapse.

The government imposed a broad import ban in March 2020 to save foreign currency. It is now facing record inflation.

The economic situation has led to huge protests with demands for the resignation of the prime minister and the president.

Also Read | Need to take lessons from Sri Lanka crisis

According to ANI, Gotabaya is constituting a new cabinet seemingly under the pressure of the protesters in the country and also ahead of the parliament session.

Sri Lankan Parliament is going to meet on April 19 with new Cabinet ministers while the Opposition is likely to step up pressure on the back of the mounting protests.

In the last parliament session, ruling party MPs had said, "The president is not going to resign from his post before completing his tenure."

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