Sri Lanka’s political turmoil continues as crisis talks unfold

Colombo, Sri Lanka — A weekend of political turmoil in Sri Lanka extended into Monday, with opposition leaders yet to agree on the replacement of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his prime minister, who are still being held by protesters. occupation because of the economic collapse of the country.

Crowds of protesters flooded Rajapaksa’s home, his seaside office and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s official residence on Saturday and demanded their resignation in the most dramatic day of a three-month crisis. . The leaders of the two opposition parties held talks on Monday but could not agree on their choices for president and prime minister.

Corruption and mismanagement have left the island nation steeped in debt, unable to pay for imports of food, fuel, medicine and other necessities, causing widespread shortages and despair. for the country’s 22 million people. The country is seeking help from neighboring India, China and the International Monetary Fund.

Rajapaksa has said he will step down on Wednesday, according to the speaker of parliament. The protesters have vowed to stay until their official resignation.

In a video statement on Monday, for the first time since the weekend protests, Wickremesinghe reiterated that he will stay until a new government is formed because he wants to work on the constitution.

“Government must operate by law. I am here to defend the constitution and through that, it responds to the demands of the people,” Wickremesinghe said. “What we need today is an all-party government and we will take steps to establish that.”

The president has not been seen or heard publicly since Saturday and his location is not known. But his office said Sunday he had ordered the immediate distribution of a shipment of cooking gas to the public, indicating he was still working.

Months of protests have destroyed the political dynasty of Rajapaksa, which has ruled Sri Lanka for most of the past two decades.

Wickremesinghe also explained the sequence of events that led to the burning of his own home on Saturday. He said protesters had gathered around his home after a lawmaker, in what Wickremesinghe said was an inaccurate tweet, announced that he had refused to resign at a meeting of lawmakers. party leader in parliament.

He added: “The last resort is to shoot. We didn’t shoot but they came and burned the house.”

Outgoing Justice Minister Wijayadasa Rajapakshe said a group of nine ministers in the Cabinet on Monday said they would resign immediately to make way for an all-party government, the outgoing Justice Minister said. Responsible for Wijayadasa Rajapakshe. Wickremesinghe’s office said another group that met him decided to stay until a new government was formed.

Negotiations by opposition party leaders to form an alternative unity government are an urgent requirement of a bankrupt country to continue discussions with the IMF.

Lawmaker Udaya Gammanpila said the main opposition United People’s Front and lawmakers who had defected from Rajapaksa’s ruling coalition had agreed to work together. Main opposition leaders Sajith Premadasa and Dullas Alahapperuma, who served as ministers under Rajapaksa, have been proposed to take over as president and prime minister and have been asked to decide how to share positions before the meeting. with the speaker of parliament on Monday, but they failed to reach an agreement.

“We cannot be in a state of anarchy. Gammanpila said.

Opposition parties are also concerned about military leaders making public safety statements in the absence of civilian authority.

Kavinda Makalanda, a spokeswoman for Premadasa, said lawmakers discussed last weekend’s statement by the Chief of General Staff of Defense calling for community cooperation to maintain law and order.

Makalanda said: “A civilian government is the need, not the army, in a democratic country.

If the opposition parties fail to form a government by the time Rajapaksa resigns, Wickremesinghe as prime minister will become acting president under the constitution. However, in line with the protesters’ demands, the opposition parties do not even want him as president.

They say Wickremesinghe should quickly step down and allow Spokesperson Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena to act as acting president – the next constitutionally-appointed person. The Sri Lanka Bar Association, the country’s main bar body, has also endorsed that view.

Rajapaksa appointed Wickremesinghe as prime minister in May to try to address the shortage and start an economic recovery. But the delay in restoring even basic supplies has angered the public against him, with protesters accusing him of protecting the president.

When Wickremesinghe took office as prime minister to salvage the economy, he said it would take at least a year to complete the initial steps needed for a full recovery.

Wickremesinghe has entered into important negotiations with the IMF on a bailout program and with the World Food Program to prepare for an anticipated food crisis. The government must submit its debt sustainability plan to the IMF by August before a deal is reached.

Sri Lanka is relying on aid from India and other countries until they can reach an agreement in negotiations with the IMF. Wickremesinghe said negotiations have been complicated lately because Sri Lanka is now bankrupt.

In April, Sri Lanka announced the suspension of foreign loan payments due to a shortage of foreign currency. Its total external debt amounts to $51 billion, of which $28 billion is due by the end of 2027.

In describing his house fire on Saturday, Wickremesinghe said he had lost what he called “my greatest treasure” – his library of 2,500 books, including those written during his time colonial period of Portugal and the Netherlands from the 16th and 19th centuries. He said there are old books written on Buddhism, books signed by leaders like former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, historical paintings and Buddhist artifacts, which he planned to donate to his alma mater and a university after his death.

He said he also lost his entire collection of paintings, not except one.

Source link


Kig News: Update the world's latest breaking news online of the day, breaking news, politics, society today, international mainstream news .Updated news 24/7: Entertainment, the World everyday world. Hot news, images, video clips that are updated quickly and reliably

Related Articles

Back to top button