Sri Lankan PM Mahinda Rajapaksa resigns amid mounting pressure


In the middle of the worst ever economic crisis in the history of the island country and the subsequent protests that followed, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa stepped down from his post on Monday, news agency PTI reported.

The news of his resignation came hours after his supporters attacked anti-government protesters outside President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s office, injuring at least 78 people and prompting authorities to impose a nationwide curfew.

Taking to twitter, Mahinda wrote, “Effective immediately I have tendered my resignation as Prime Minister to the President.”

In his resignation letter, Mahinda said “I write to inform (you) that I have decided to resign from the post of prime minister with immediate effect. This is in line with your request made at the special cabinet meeting held on May 6, wherein you said that you intend to set up an all-party interim government.”

He said that he will be “ready to make any sacrifice even in the future in order to help the people and the government overcome the present crisis.”

Along with the PM, at least two other Cabinet ministers have also resigned, PTI reported.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who is leading the embattled government in the crisis-hit country, wanted Mahinda’s resignation to form an interim administration to solve the present political impasse.

The 76 year old Rajapaksa was under pressure from within his own Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) ranks to resign. However, he was gathering his supporters to apply counter-pressure not to stand down.

Meanwhile, amid clashes between Sri Lankas’s ruling party and anti-government protesters a senior MP has died, news agency AFP reported quoting police officials. MP Amarakeerthi Athukorala opened fire and critically injured two people who were trying to block his car. Later, Athukorala was found dead trying to escape and take refuge in a nearby building.