President Gotabaya Rajapaksa “has no motive” to resign, the chief authorities whip informed Parliament on Wednesday, as residents’ protests broaden, with state-sector employees too demanding his resignation.
“The President has been given a mandate by 6.9 million voters. He doesn’t have to resign,” mentioned Johnston Fernando, who was among the many 4 ministers that Gotabaya not too long ago re-appointed to a “new Cupboard”, after members of the outdated Cupboard resigned en-masse.
In his first initiative but to deal with the financial disaster after residents’ protests erupted, President Gotabaya on Wednesday appointed a panel of eminent Sri Lankan economists to advise him on debt restructuring and restoration, an announcement mentioned. Members of the ‘Presidential Advisory Group on Multilateral Engagement and Debt Sustainability’ embody Indrajit Coomaraswamy, Former Governor of the Central Financial institution of Sri Lanka; Shanta Devarajan, Former Chief Economist with the World Financial institution; and Sharmini Coorey, a Former Deputy Director on the IMF, the Presidential Media Division mentioned.
The ruling Rajapaksa clan faces unprecedented public criticism as Sri Lanka battles its worst financial downturns.
Gotabaya’s authorities misplaced its majority in Parliament on Tuesday, as over 40 MPs from his get together and its coalition companions sat individually, distancing themselves from the unpopular administration.
As agitations unfold, President Gotabaya responded by imposing an Emergency, curfew, and banning social media final weekend – strikes that his critics see as concentrating on dissent. Protestors defied the curfew, whereas the ban on social media was eliminated in a lower than a day following a backlash. On Tuesday, Gotabaya revoked the Emergency, hours after the Opposition challenged him to a parliamentary vote on it.
In the meantime, the political deadlock triggered by the cupboard resignations persists, with the nation left with simply the President, the PM and three cupboard ministers, after one in every of them resigned inside a day. The opposition has rejected Gotabaya’s provide to kind a nationwide cupboard and is reluctant to kind a caretaker authorities below his Presidency.
The Parliament convened on Wednesday to debate the disaster. Commencing the controversy, Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena mentioned, “Sri Lanka is going through the worst financial disaster in historical past, however it’s only the start.” As residents face hardships owing to the stifling shortages, he mentioned specialists have warned of a extreme meals scarcity within the nation. “The meals, gasoline and electrical energy shortages will worsen. There will probably be acute meals shortages and hunger,” he mentioned, urging parliamentarians to put aside political variations and reply collectively.
(Meera Srinivasan is The Hindu Correspondent in Colombo )
April 06, 2022