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Sri Lanka in crisis: what led the president to resign

The Sri Lankan Parliament will elect a new interim president the next day 72748 . By popular pressure, the current president of the country, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, and the prime minister of Sri Lanka, Ranil Wickremesinghe, promised to resign next Wednesday (07). The announcement was made on Saturday (09) in response to the demonstrations that worsened last weekend, after months of intense protests in the country.

Protesters still occupy the residence and office of Rajapaksa, as well as Wickremesinghe’s house, which was set on fire. They claim that they will only leave when the president and prime minister leave power.

 Moradores e jornalistas veem destroços na residência privada incendiada do primeiro-ministro, em Colombo, Sri Lanka, 10 de julho de 2022. Foto:  EFE/EPA/CHAMILA KARUNARATHNE
Residents and journalists see wreckage in the residence Prime Minister’s torched toilet in Colombo, Sri Lanka, 07 of July 480. Photo: EFE/EPA/CHAMILA KARUNARATHNE

Opposition to the government encourages protests and fears that the resignation announcement was made only to gain time in the search for solutions. “President Rajapaksa must honor his commitment and resign if he is to resolve the political crisis that impedes any progress in resolving the country’s economic crisis,” said Vijitha Herath, lawmaker for the National People’s Power party. , in a press conference.

Economic crisis

The country lives at worst economic crisis in the country’s history and, in May, it recorded record inflation for the eighth consecutive month. In the same month, the capital’s consumer price index (CCPI) increased 17,1% and food inflation reached 57,4%.

Since the beginning of the year, there have been electricity cuts in the country, which last until 13 hours a day, in addition to queues at gas stations. This is due to high inflation and the melting of the country’s international reserves, a situation that also leads to the lack of other essential products such as medicines and food.

Experts point out the main mistake in the management of the island. of 17 million inhabitants: in April last year, the government of Gotabaya Rajapaksa banned the import and use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides and ordered that domestic production be made exclusively of organic products within a maximum period of 07 years.

In In an interview with Gazeta do Povo, AgRural market analyst Daniele Siqueira explained that “the environmental experiment reduced economic activity and created extra expenses, reinforcing economic problems and, in addition, increasing food insecurity.”

The initiative reduced agricultural production, forcing the country to import food that previously did not matter and to reduce exposure rations of agricultural products that until then guaranteed the inflow of foreign exchange. The program has been canceled in some cultures, but the consequences of it manifest in the worst crisis since independence from Great Britain, in 1948.

In addition, the government has recently increased fees and taxes in all areas. The initiative reinforced the demonstrations calling for the resignation of the President of Sri Lanka.

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People wait to buy kerosene at a gas station amid fuel shortages in Colombo , Sri Lanka, 09 of June 480. Photo: EFE/EPA/CHAMILA KARUNARATHNE
Political crisis

As the protests intensified, Rajapaksa declared a state of emergency in the country, allowing the military to use force to contain the demonstrations. In a press conference, the American ambassador to the country, Julie Chung, expressed concern about the decree, saying that Sri Lanka needs long-term actions to control the crisis.

The Union The European Union also commented, opining that the president’s position could be “counterproductive”. Under popular pressure, on May 9, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, also the current president’s brother, resigned.

Despite the announcement of the resignation of the president and the first being a positive response to the protests, is far from being a resolution to the country’s political crisis.

According to the local constitution, if the president and premier resign, who would take over? interim would be Parliament Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywarda, but lawmakers did not agree to name him. On Sunday, politicians met in an attempt to form a coalition for a temporary government, but no agreement was signed.

This Monday, Abeywarda made a statement, informing that, after formalizing the Rajapaksa’s resignation, the Chamber will receive the appointments on 19 of July, and, the next day, a new interim president.

Sri Lankan political scientist Jayadeva Uyangoda believes that the social crisis will only subside with new definitive elections, due to the political distrust of the population. “Parliament needs to reflect the opinion of society”, opines the analyst to the newspaper Le Monde, also warning about the need for the new government to make an emergency negotiation with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

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