Sri Lanka’s opposition leaders ask PM Ranil Wickremesinghe to quit ahead of President’s resignation

COLOMBO: Sri LankaOpposition leaders have asked Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe resign before President Gotabaya resigns Rajapaksa who had promised to resign on Wednesday, according to a media report. Tamil National Union (TNA) MP MA Sumanthiran said on Wednesday that the decision was made at a meeting of all parties attended by leaders except those from the Government, channel News 1st reported.
He said two decisions were unanimously made at the meeting, and one was for Wickremesinghe to resign immediately, while the other was to speak to sack the Prime Minister before the President’s resignation took effect. This channel reported.
Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Whip Lakshman Kiriella from Samagi Jana Balavegaya said the commander of the armed forces of the three armies was also present at the meeting.
“The prime minister has shied away from party leaders,” he said.
The commanders informed that protesters were near the gates of parliament, and wanted permission to push them back using force, he said.
“We said we could not agree to such a request,” he said, adding that at the last meeting party leaders had called for the President and Prime Minister to step down.
Leaders asked the speaker to fire Wickremesinghe to assume the post of Acting President, and then Parliament prepared to work with him.
President Rajapaksa on Wednesday fled to the Maldives from where he appointed Prime Minister Wickremesinghe as acting President, escalating the political crisis and triggering a new wave of protests in the country reeling from crisis. worst financial crisis in decades.
Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena said President Rajapaksa informed him by phone that he would resign today as promised. He said the vote to elect a new president will take place on July 20.
Wickremesinghe, now acting President, declared a state of emergency in the country and a curfew in the western province was imposed as protesters gathered near his office at Flower Street in Colombo.
Sri Lanka, a country of 22 million people, is in the grip of an unprecedented economic crisis, the worst in seven decades, leaving millions struggling to buy food, medicine, fuel and other necessities. Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said last week that Sri Lanka is now a bankrupt country.

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