Sri Lankan President Cuts Relatives Off Cabinet Ahead of IMF Talks

Sri Lanka’s president made 17 new Cabinet appointments on Monday, dropping two brothers and a nephew, amid public anger over the government’s mishandling of a devastating economic crisis.

The new Cabinet no longer includes relatives except President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s older brother, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Ministers with corruption allegations were also removed from the Cabinet. The finance and foreign affairs ministers, however, were retained to help with economic recovery.

Huge protests have been erupting over the past weeks, demanding Rajapaksa and the ruling clan to quit. The president has nonetheless insisted he and the prime minister will remain in office to lead the country through its worst crisis to date.

Sri Lanka’s Cabinet had offered to resign on April 3 as a response to public outrage over nepotism and corruption amid the crisis. Namal Rajapaksa, the prime minister’s son, was among those who resigned.

Sri Lanka has run dry of foreign exchange reserves to import essential goods. Power cuts and food shortages have been spreading across the island since the beginning of the year, leading to daily protests in its capital city Colombo.

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