Sri Lanka’s embattled president Gotabaya Rajapaksa revoked a state of emergency that he had declared, as lawmakers from the ruling collation sat independently in parliament today following more protests across the South.
Late on Tuesday evening, Rajapaksa issued a gazette revoking the state of emergency, effective from midnight on April 5.
The announcement came just hours after parliament met today, with fiery speeches and interventions from lawmakers. During the session, forty-two government parliamentarians informed the Speaker of the House of their decision to sit independently, a move that will be a major blow to Rajapaksa as he loses his majority.
Earlier in the day, his newly appointed finance minister Ali Sabry quit from the role, just hours after being appointed. Sabry, a long time Rajapaksa ally, said he had "acted in the best interests of the country".
In parliament, opposition leader Sajith Premadasa called for the abolition of the 20th Amendment to Sri Lanka’s constitution and of the executive presidency. “This government must resign from president downwards,” he said. “That’s the reality.”
Amidst shouts from government-aligned MPs however, Premadasa added that “I don’ t think this country deteriorated over 74 years” and “We have no problem recognising good things”.
“Listen to what I’m saying without shouting like idiots,” he snapped back at the heckling.
Meanwhile, TNA parliamentarian R Shanakiyan mockingly offered ACMA MP Muszhaaraff a Rs. 5000 note, as the Muslim lawmaker declared he was leaving the government coalition to function independently. “Shameless MPs who supported 20A trying to project themselves as saviours of the nation or getting ready to strike another deal,” Shanakiyan tweeted later, alongside a photograph of the incident.
A way out of Sri Lanka’s economic and political crisis remains unclear, but it seems that Rajapaksa’s ruling coalition no longer holds a majority in the 225-member parliament, a massive fall from its 2/3 majority he once held in 2020.