Sri Lanka’s entire cabinet aside from the president and his sibling prime minister resigned from their posts Sunday as the ruling political clan seeks to resolve a mounting economic crisis, with a social media blackout failing to halt another day of anti-government demonstrations.
The South Asian island nation is facing severe shortages of food, fuel and other essentials – along with record inflation and crippling power cuts – in its most painful downturn since independence from Britain in 1948.
All 26 ministers in the cabinet aside from President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his elder brother Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa submitted letters of resignation at a late-night meeting, education minister Dinesh Gunawardena told reporters.
Many angry protesters demanding the resignation of the Rajapaksa family say the move is meaningless.
On Sunday, many defied a curfew to take to the streets in several cities.
It is caused in part by a lack of foreign currency, which is used to pay for fuel imports. With power cuts lasting half a day or more, and shortages of food, medicines and fuel, public anger has reached a new high.
Education Minister Dinesh Gunawardena told reporters on Sunday that the cabinet’s ministers had tendered their resignation letters to the prime minister.
The prime minister’s own son, Namal Rajapaksa, was among those who resigned, tweeting that he hoped it would help the president and PM’s “decision to establish stability for the people and the government”.
However, many protesters who allege that the president and his family are to blame for the situation in the country are angry at the fact that he will remain in power.