Sri Lankan opposition meets to establish a new government in the turmoil


Sri Lanka’s Colombo-Sri Lanka’s opposition parties meet on Sunday to agree with the new government the day after the country’s president and prime minister offer to resign on the most dramatic day of political turmoil over several months, with protesters heading both sides. Raised his house and set fire to one of the buildings that was furious over the economic crisis.

Protesters said they would remain at President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s home, seaside office, and Prime Minister’s Office until he officially resigned. The whereabouts of the president are still unknown, but a statement from his office ordered the authorities to begin immediate distribution of consignment of cooking gas to the general public, suggesting that he is still working. is doing.

Soldiers were stationed throughout the city, and Chief of the Defense Staff Shavendra Silva sought public assistance to maintain law and order. However, the army saw from a distance the crowds scattered into the pool in the garden, relaxing in bed, and using mobile phone cameras to capture the moments in Rajapaksa’s vast dwellings.

On Sunday, residents of the Prime Minister’s Office cooked in the outdoor kitchen, played the popular table game Carrom, and slept on a large sofa.

Rungis Maduma Bandara, the chief executive of United People’s Force, the main opposition party, had more meetings with other parties and lawmakers who had left the ruling coalition of Rajapaksa. Said it was planned. He didn’t say when the deal could be reached, even though the deal was expected to be completed on Sunday.

Another opposition member, MA Smantilan, could easily bring together all the opposition parties to bring together the 113 members needed to show a majority in parliament, at which point Rajapaksa would set up a new government. He said he would demand his resignation.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said he would resign when the new government was inaugurated, and hours later, the Speaker of Parliament said Rajapaksa would resign on Wednesday. Pressure on both men increased as the economic collapse caused a serious shortage of necessities and people struggled to get food, fuel and other necessities.

According to the Constitution, if both the President and the Prime Minister resign, Mahinda Yapa Abbey Waldena will become the extraordinary president.

Rajapaksa appointed Wickremesinghe as prime minister in May to fill the shortage and start an economic recovery.

Wickremesinghe was part of an important consultation with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout program and the World Food Program to prepare for a predicted food crisis. The government must submit a debt sustainability plan to the IMF in August before reaching an agreement.

Analysts say it is doubtful that the new leader can do more than Wickremesinghe. His government efforts were promising, and the coveted fertilizer was distributed to farmers for the next season’s cultivation and cooking gas orders arriving in the country on Sunday.

“This kind of anxiety can cause confusion among international organizations such as the IMF and the World Bank,” said political analyst Langa Karansoriya, adding that the new administration has become a common program for economic recovery. He added that it should be agreed.

He said that while Wickremesinghe was working in the right direction, his administration’s weaknesses were not implementing long-term plans focused on solving day-to-day problems.

It is unlikely that all party governments will agree on IMF-backed economic reforms without losing political support to some parties.

Wickremesinghe said on Saturday that it was not appropriate for him to leave without a government in place.

“Today, there is a fuel crisis and food shortages in this country, the head of the World Food Program is here, and there are some issues to discuss with the IMF,” said Wickremesinghe. “Therefore, if this government leaves, there must be another government.”

Four ministers have resigned since the protest on Saturday.

Both Wickremesinghe and Speaker of Parliament Abbey Waldena said they had spoken to the president in a speech, but they said nothing about his whereabouts.

Protesters also broke into the Prime Minister’s private residence and fired it during a close quarters battle on Saturday. Ruwan Wijewardena, a party official, said Wickremesinghe was inside when the protesters gathered, but guards took him to another location.

Wijewardena said such actions only polarized society and political parties.

“If this kind of incident continues, we can say goodbye to the IMF and the international aid that will come to the country. If there is lawlessness and political groups do not come together, the international community will come to this country. , I can’t help this country. “

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Washington is tracking Sri Lanka’s developments and urged Congress to implement a solution and take swift action to address people’s dissatisfaction.

At a press conference in Bangkok, Blinken said the United States would condemn the attacks on peaceful demonstrators, calling for a full investigation of protest-related violence.

Sri Lanka relies on aid from India and other countries as leaders seek relief with the IMF. Wickremesinghe recently said negotiations with the IMF are complicated because Sri Lanka is a bankrupt country.

Sri Lanka announced in April that it would stop repayment of external debt due to a shortage of foreign currency. Total external debt is $ 51 billion, of which $ 28 billion must be repaid by the end of 2027.

After months of demonstrations, Rajapaksa’s political dynasty was almost dismantled. The Rajapaksa political dynasty, which has ruled Sri Lanka for most of the last two decades, has been accused of mismanagement and corruption protesters. The president’s brother resigned as prime minister in May after seeing fierce protests seeking safety at a naval base. He later moved to Colombo’s house.

By Krishan Francis

Associated Press