Colombo: Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has informed senior party leaders that he will not step down from the Presidency but will hand over the government to whoever holds 113 seats in Parliament.
The Daily Mirror reported on Tuesday that Gotabaya Rajapaksa – amid public protests throughout the nation calling on the President and the government to resign – held political meetings and told political parties on Monday that he will not step down from the Presidency.
As Sri Lanka runs low on foreign currency reserves, it has been unable to pay for imports of essentials such as fuel. A drop in tourism due to the pandemic is one factor, but many say the president has mismanaged this crisis.
Experts say policies introduced by Mr. Rajapaksa after he was elected in 2019 – steep tax cuts and an import ban – have worsened the crisis, as has his reluctance to get help from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Mr. Rajapaksa has blamed previous administrations for the current state of affairs, but many like Nadhie’s daughter Anjalee say it’s time for him to resign immediately and accept full responsibility.
Parliament in Sri Lanka is scheduled to convene amid the unending public protests over what the worst economic crisis since independence in 1948. With many MPs from parties aligned with Rajapaksa’s Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP)-led coalition deciding to call themselves as independent, the government has lost its two-third majority in Parliament. Rajapaksa’s cabinet has already resigned.
The President has called on opposition parties to help him form a national government and accept cabinet portfolios. The opposition has rejected the offer and instead told the President to resign. Sri Lanka’s cabinet and central bank governor have all quit as anger grows over rising food and fuel prices. But as the economic crisis worsens in the country, those who’ve taken to the streets in protest say they won’t stop until the President resigns.
INDIA BLOOMS NEWS SERVICE