Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on Monday offered his resignation amid the island nation's worst economic crisis since independence that has led to widespread protests, a government official said.
"The prime minister has sent his letter of resignation to the president," the official said, declining to be named, said Reuters. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is the prime minister's younger brother.
At least two Cabinet ministers have also announced their resignations, PTI reported.
The resignation paves the way for the president to put opposition members in key government roles, one solution he’s proposed to end the crisis. But it’s unclear if the prime minister’s resignation will placate angry citizens, who have called for Gotabaya Rajapaksa to step down as well.
The prime minister’s resignation would also dissolve the federal cabinet, raising questions about who would lead Sri Lanka’s ongoing talks with the International Monetary Fun for emergency funds to buy food and fuel. Soaring prices of everything from gasoline to essential medicines have kept protests on the boil in Sri Lanka, which is close to bankruptcy and has suspended payments on foreign debt, Bloomberg reported.
Sri Lankan authorities on Monday imposed a nationwide curfew and Army troops were deployed in the capital after pro-government groups attacked protesters outside embattled Gotabaya Rajapaksa's office, leaving at least 78 people injured.
The violence occurred following reports that Mahinda Rajapaksa may offer to stand down as Prime Minister, as pressure mounted on the embattled government led by his younger brother and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to form an interim administration to overcome the worst economic crisis facing the country.
Curfew was imposed islandwide with immediate effect until further notice, a police spokesperson was quoted as saying by the local media, PTI reporter.