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Sri Lanka: Over 40 lawmakers withdraw support for government

by editor

More than 40 members of the parliament from Sri Lanka’s ruling coalition withdrew their support for the government on Tuesday, a day after mass protests prompted the entire Cabinet to resign.

The South Asian island nation was rocked again by protests for a third consecutive day over rising prices and shortages of food, fuel, and gas.

The demonstrators were demanding President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s resignation and that a new election be held.

Some of the protests were being held near residences of ruling party members and former ministers.

Mobs attacked the home of one minister in north-central Sri Lanka on Monday night while security forces had been deployed to protect the houses of ruling party members.

The country was heavily in debt and urgently needed dollars to import fuel, gas, food, and medicine from abroad.

Discussions would be held with the International Monetary Fund next week.

Meanwhile, dozens of lawmakers that formerly represented the government said, on Tuesday, that they were now independent.

That means the ruling Sri Lanka Peoples Party effectively lost its two-thirds majority in the 225-seat parliament and was on the verge of turning into a minority government.

However, a vote still needed to be taken in parliament to establish whether the ruling party had a minimum majority, which would be over 113 members.

The move came a day after Rajapaksa was forced to reshuffle the cabinet after all ministers tendered their resignations.

The president had so far named four ministers, including a new finance minister to replace Rajapaksa’s brother, Basil Rajapaksa.

But less than 24 hours after the new Finance Minister, Ali Sabry, took up the post, he resigned, plunging the country into further uncertainty.

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