Sri Lankan President Appoints New Cabinet With 17 Ministers Amid Spiralling Anti-govt Protests: Report

Amid the ongoing anti-government protests in Sri Lanka following the economic and political crisis, the country’s President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Monday appointed a new Cabinet consisting of 17 ministers, according to reports.

YEARSwhich shared the development citing NewsWirehad earlier reported that Rajapaksa was preparing to appoint new ministers to the island nation’s cabinet, and that the Cabinet would remain small to ensure the ‘government’s smooth operation’.

The ministers’ swearing-in would take place on Monday, amid escalating anti-government protests, it said.

“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,” a ruling party MP had told YEARS.

According to reports, at a recent meeting, the “President told the members of his political alliance to form a limited cabinet to run the government.”

Due to widespread anti-government protests, the entire Sri Lankan Cabinet resigned in the first week of April.

An opposition party had opposed the President’s decision to appoint a new Cabinet of inexperienced ministers.

In addition, the President is forming a new cabinet under pressure from protesters in the country and also ahead of the Parliament session.

The Sri Lankan Parliament will meet on April 19 with new Cabinet ministers, while the opposition is expected to increase pressure in response to the mounting protests.

Sri Lanka is in the grip of its worst economic crisis since independence from Britain in 1948. It has led to shortages of fuel, food and essential medicines.

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

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

With inputs from agencies

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