Amid an economic meltdown in 2022, a nonviolent citizens movement in Sri Lanka ousted Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, brothers from a family that had dominated national politics since 2005. But Parliament filled the presidential vacancy with Ranil Wickremesinghe, a six-time former prime minister seen as a proxy for his predecessors. After a draconian crackdown on protesters, the streets have quieted. But the country’s underlying economic and political crisis, which has roots in the early postcolonial period and the civil war, and was worsened by the Rajapaksas’ autocratic misrule, persists. The new administration has avoided the systemic change demanded by protesters.
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