Basil Rajapaksa, the younger brother of Sri Lanka’s president and the country’s former finance minister, said on Thursday he had resigned from parliament, the second from the influential family to step away from government amid a severe economic crisis.
He told a news conference he had submitted a letter to give up his Parliament seat but insisted that he was not solely responsible for the country’s economic hardships.
“The crisis was there even when I took over,” he said. “I did my best with all my strength.”
Rajapaksa, a member of the powerful political family that has ruled Sri Lanka for much of the past two decades, served as finance minister from July last year until April, when he resigned with other ministers over the government’s failure to resolve the economic situation.
He said Thursday that successive governments that ruled Sri Lanka since the 1950s deserve blame too because “they took loans and spent them” without taking steps to avert a crisis.