‘Will appoint Prime Minister and Cabinet this week’: Lankan president amid tension and clashes

Gotabaya Rajapaksa said a constitutional amendment would then be proposed.


Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa today said he would appoint a new prime minister and cabinet this week in the country, which was thrown into chaos after Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse resigned from his post on Monday , nullifying the elected government. Struggling with a gigantic economic crisis for weeks, the island nation of 22 million people is currently under curfew. The army and the police have been authorized to shoot on sight those who violate the curfew.

In an address to the nation this evening, President Rajapakse said that the current situation should be ‘controlled and the country not heading towards anarchy’, that he would appoint a prime minister and cabinet this week ‘which can have a majority in Parliament and gain the confidence of the people of the country”.

“Thereafter, a constitutional amendment will be proposed to enact the contents of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which will give more powers to parliament. The Prime Minister of the new government will have the opportunity to produce a new program and move this country forward. ,” he added.

President Rajapaksa apparently spoke today with the country’s former Prime Minister and current MP Ranil Wickremesinghe, 73. There is a buzz that he could be the next prime minister as a stopgap measure.

While the largest opposition party has refused to join any government led by a member of the Rajapaksa clan, Mr Wickremesinghe leads the United National Party. Current members of the main opposition in Sri Lanka were with the UNP before breaking away and forming the SJB (currently the opposition) ahead of the 2020 general election.

Acknowledging that the country is going through a “very serious crisis”, Mr Rajapaksa said he held talks with different parties and accepted the joint proposal to create a new government.

“During the appointment of the recent cabinet, several high ranking ministers and all the Rajapaksa were omitted. A new cabinet with young faces was appointed. I also reached an agreement to dismiss the Prime Minister and the Cabinet and allow to appoint a new Prime Minister and Cabinet. However, on May 9, an unfortunate event happened,” he added, referring to the country’s worst violence that took place on Monday.

As supporters of the Rajapaksa family went on a rampage, attacking anti-government protesters, they fought back, sparking violence across the country.

“Within hours, nine people, including a deputy, were beaten and killed inhumanely. About 300 people were hospitalized. Many houses were burnt down. Looting was reported across the country. A curfew was imposed. was imposed and before the deployment of the three-army forces, the events took place in a very organized way,” said the President of Lanka.

The country was immediately placed under a curfew, which is expected to be lifted tomorrow.

Sri Lanka has suffered months of power outages and severe shortages of food, fuel and medicine in its worst economic crisis since independence, sparking weeks of extremely peaceful anti-government protests.

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