Colombo (Sri Lanka) | Jagran News Desk: Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Wednesday said he will appoint a new Prime Minister and a Cabinet this week as anti-government protest continues to escalate in the island nation amid the ongoing economic crisis.

In an address to the nation, Gotabaya said the appointment of a new Prime Minister and the Cabinet will empower the Parliament.

"I will appoint a young cabinet without any of the Rajapaksas," Gotabaya said. "The new government's Prime Minister will be awarded the opportunity to produce a new program and take this country forward."

Gotabaya's elder brother and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned from his position on Monday amid continued protests against his government. Following that, violence erupted across the country in which nine people, including an MP from the ruling party, were killed while more than 200 were injured.

Mahinda Rajapaksa, 76, has now been moved to the Trincomalee naval base after he was evacuated from his official residence 'Temple Tree' by the country's armed forces.

Speaking about the violence in the island nation, Gotabaya what happened on May 9 was very unfortunate. "The murders, assaults, acts of intimidation, destruction of property, and the series of heinous acts that followed cannot be justified at all," the President said.

Gotabaya said that the Inspector General of Police has been instructed to conduct investigations. He also said that Sri Lanka Police and Three-Armed Forces have been ordered to strictly enforce the law against those who cause violence.

"Steps will be taken to strictly enforce the law against those who planned, aided, promoted, and are connected to these events," Gotabaya said while urging everyone to maintain calm.

Sri Lanka is facing its worst economic crisis since gaining independence from Britain in 1948. The crisis is caused in part by a lack of foreign currency, which has meant that the country cannot afford to pay for imports of staple foods and fuel, leading to acute shortages and very high prices.

Thousands of demonstrators have hit the streets across Sri Lanka since April 9 seeking the resignation of President Gotabaya and his brother Mahinda, as the government ran out of money for vital imports; prices of essential commodities have skyrocketed and there are acute shortages in fuel, medicines and electricity supply.

(With PTI inputs)

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma