go to top
Former Sri Lankan Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa waves to supporters during a convention in Sri Lanka. Former Sri Lankan Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa waves to supporters during a party convention held to announce the presidential candidacy in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Aug. 11, 2019 (AP photo by Eranga Jayawardena).

In Sri Lanka, the Rajapaksas Made an Economic Crisis Worse

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Populist politicians, who have been sweeping to power in countries across the globe, build their appeal partly on claims that they will base their policies on the needs and interests of the people. But once in power, their decisions, often ill-conceived, can create grave problems for the very voters they purport to champion. For proof, look no further than what has befallen the people of Sri Lanka.

In recent months, life in the island nation has turned into a grinding, ever-worsening ordeal. What started as a government debt crisis has devolved into broader economic turmoil, marked by critical shortages of basic products, widespread poverty and spiraling inflation. Scuffles are breaking out in markets as shoppers struggle to find what they need—and to afford it when they do, as prices soar out of reach. Food has become scarce and expensive. Power outages have left the capital, Colombo, in darkness for hours every day. Drivers are spending hours lining up for gasoline; two men even died last week while waiting in the stifling heat. In mid-March, the government canceled school exams for millions of students due to a shortage of paper. ...

To read more,

enter your email address then choose one of the three options below.

Subscribe to World Politics Review and you'll receive instant access to 10,000+ articles in the World Politics Review Library, along with new comprehensive analysis every weekday . . . written by leading topic experts.