Sri Lankan President appoints new Cabinet

Colombo: Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa became the only member of the family to retain a Cabinet position in his younger brother Gotabaya Rajapaksa's new Cabinet of 17 ministers appointed on Monday, as the island nation was facing the worst economic crisis.

Earlier this month, Sri Lanka's entire Cabinet -- aside from President Gotabaya and his elder brother, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa -- resigned from their posts after thousands of people defied a countrywide state of emergency and curfew and joined street protests denouncing the government.

The previous Cabinet had to make way for the president to form a unity cabinet with the Opposition members. The Opposition, however, declined the offer.

Rajapaksa swore in a 17-member Cabinet on Monday in addition to the three ministers he had earlier appointed.

That meant no place for the oldest member of the family Chamal Rajapaksa, Mahinda's son Namal Rajapaksa, both of whom were Cabinet ministers and the nephew Shasheendra who was a state minister.

The Cabinet appointment came as the island-wide protests continued to force the resignation of the president and his family for mishandling the economy. Sri Lanka is facing its worst economic crisis since gaining independence from the UK in 1948. The economic crisis also triggered a political turmoil in the island nation with citizens holding nationwide street protests for weeks over lengthy power cuts and shortage of fuel, food and other daily essentials and demanding the ouster of President

Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

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