Sri Lanka’s economic crisis has created a political one

Until very recently Gotabaya Rajapaksa, still Sri Lanka’s president as The Economist went to press, was secure in his job. After all, he had done much to consolidate his power. Following his election in 2019 he dissolved the legislature and filled the government with relatives and cronies. A thumping win for his coalition in parliamentary elections in 2020 enabled him to change the constitution, handing himself even more power.

Yet over the past few weeks Mr Rajapaksa’s hold on the country of 22m people has been slipping. Sri Lanka’s economy is in free fall. The rupee has declined by more than 30% against the dollar since the central bank abandoned its peg a month ago (see chart). Fuel and food have been in short supply for weeks. Sri Lankans wait hours in the heat to buy cooking gas at exorbitant prices—if they can get it at all. Power cuts of up to 13 hours a day have crippled businesses, including the budding tech industry. Exams have been postponed for lack of paper. Hospitals across the country are running out of essential drugs……………..

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