Despite loosening former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa family's powerful grip on Sri Lankan politics, there's still "a crisis of legitimacy in the country, where people see the leadership can’t deliver" on issues like reconciliation, political reform and addressing the devastating economic crisis, says USIP's Tamanna Salikuddin.
Sri Lanka is grappling with its most serious political and economic crises since its independence in 1948. Navigating these interlinked crises will require reforming the South Asian island nation’s constitution to reduce the power of the executive presidency and securing a bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), according to experts.
Following months of escalating protests, and the May resignation of his brother Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled the country on July 13. Sri Lanka’s economy has hit rock bottom as it defaulted on international loans and is facing rampant fuel and food shortages, and the government imposed a state of emergency. Gotabaya’s flight from the country leaves the government in further disarray. How did Sri Lanka get here and what does this political and economic crisis mean for the country and the region?