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Sri Lanka: Ruling coalition loses parliamentary majority

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s ruling coalition lost its majority in parliament on Tuesday after at least 41 lawmakers walked out of the alliance amid growing unrest over an economic crisis, according to parliamentary proceedings.

“Our party is on the side of the people,” said Maithripala Sirisena, leader of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party which withdrew its support for Rajapaksa’s coalition.

The island nation of 22 million is struggling to pay for imports of fuel and other goods because of a shortage of foreign exchange.

The Opposition asked Rajapaksa to resign due to the country’s worsening shortages of essentials and prolonged power cuts.

“The people of this country want Gotabaya and the entire Rajapaksa family to go and we can’t go against the people’s will and we can’t work alongside the corrupt,” said a senior official of the United People’s Force, which is largest Opposition political party, the Associated Press reported.

Sri Lanka has decided to temporarily close its embassies in Oslo (Norway) and Baghdad (Iraq) and its Consulate General in Sydney, Australia with effect from April 30. According to a government statement, the decision was taken following ‘careful deliberation.’ The government stated that it is ‘part of a general restructuring of Sri Lanka’s diplomatic representationa overseas, undertaken by the Foreign Ministry in the context of the current economic situation and foreign currency constraints faced by the country.’

(With inputs from agencies)

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