Monday, May 23, 2022

Wickremesinghe sworn in as new SL new PM

Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe was on Thursday sworn-in as Sri Lanka’s new prime minister, days after his predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned following violent protests over the worst economic crisis in the debt-ridden island nation.
The 73-year-old United National Party (UNP) was appointed as the prime minister by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa after they held closed-door discussions on Wednesday. Wickremesinghe, who has served as the country’s prime minister for four times, was in October 2018 fired from the post of prime minister by then President Maithripala Sirisena. However, he was reinstalled as the prime minister by Sirisena after two months.
Members of the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), a section of the main Opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) and several other parties have expressed their support to show majority for Wickremesinghe in Parliament, sources said. The UNP, the oldest party in the country, had failed to win a single seat from districts, including Wickremesinghe who contested from the UNP stronghold Colombo in 2020 parliamentary polls.
He later found his way to Parliament through the sole national list allocated to the UNP on the basis of cumulative national vote. His deputy Sajith Premadasa had led the breakaway SJB and became the main Opposition.
Wickremesinghe is widely accepted as a man who could manage the economy with far-sighted policies, and is perceived as the Sri Lankan politician who could command international cooperation.
Sri Lanka is facing its worst economic crisis since gaining independence from Britain in 1948. The crisis is caused in part by a lack of foreign currency, which has meant that the country cannot afford to pay for imports of staple foods and fuel, leading to acute shortages and very high prices.

Ready to form govt if Prez resigns within stipulated time period: Opposition leader

Amid hectic parleys to form a new government in Sri Lanka, Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa said on Thursday that he would accept President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s invitation to form a new government if he agrees to some conditions, including his resignation within a stipulated time period. In a letter to the President on Thursday, 55-year-old Premadasa said that the Samagi Jana Balawegaya-led Opposition is willing to form a new interim government in Sri Lanka subject to conditions.
“One of the conditions put forward by Sajith Premadasa is that the 19th Amendment to the Constitution should be implemented with the support of all political parties within two weeks. Further, President Gotabaya must resign within a stipulated time period,” local media reported, citing the content of the letter. The third condition is that the President should work together with all the political parties to work towards abolishing the Executive Presidency via the 21st Amendment to the Constitution. The fourth condition is that the President must call for Parliamentary Elections to give the people an opportunity to elect a new stable government, following the implementation of the aforementioned constitutional reforms, establishing the rule of law, and returning the people’s lives to normalcy.
Premadasa said that he has a sustainable programme to control the fall of the economy and for the implementation of the constitutional reforms.
He said he is prepared for discussions on the swearing in of the new government, and on the period of the said new government.
His comments came amidst reports that four-time former prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who has just one seat in the 225-member Parliament, could be sworn-in as the next premier on Thursday.
The 73-year-old United National Party (UNP) leader held talks with President Rajapaksa on Wednesday and is expected to meet him again on Thursday.
Premadasa, who was part of the UNP and served as minister under Wickremesinghe, had parted ways and became the main Opposition.
In a late-night televised address to the nation, the President on Wednesday refused to quit but promised to appoint a new Prime Minister and a young Cabinet this week which would introduce key constitutional reforms to curb his powers, amid protests over the nation’s worst economic crisis that ousted his elder brother Mahinda Rajapaksa who is under protection at a naval base following violent attacks on his aides.
Sri Lanka is facing its worst economic crisis since gaining independence from Britain in 1948. The crisis is caused in part by a lack of foreign currency, which has meant that the country cannot afford to pay for imports of staple foods and fuel, leading to acute shortages and very high prices.
Thousands of demonstrators have hit the streets across Sri Lanka since April 9 seeking the resignation of the Rajapaksa brothers.

Won’t take any post in a govt with Prez Gotabaya: Fonseka

Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka on Thursday categorically refused to accept any post in a government headed by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
Fonseka, who is credited with the annihilation of the LTTE, strongly condemned any attempt to mislead the public through false propaganda after it was reported that the President had contacted Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) MP to offer premiership to him.
“I categorically refuse to accept any post in a government headed by Gotabaya Rajapaksa,” he said.
In a statement on his official Facebook account, Fonseka strongly condemned any attempt to mislead the public through false propaganda. “I, too, stand unconditionally on the main demands of the entire Lankan nation through a peaceful, non-violent people’s struggle.” Fonseka said he is extremely sensitive to the demands of the anti-government protesters at Galle Face, close to the Presidential Secretariat, who have raised their voices on behalf of the country, the public, and future generations.
“From the beginning, I have wholeheartedly blessed the brave youth who have been in the struggle and I will never be a partner in resolving the Rajapaksas’ crisis without holding discussions with the protesters at Galle Face,” he said.
Sri Lanka’s embattled President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Wednesday refused to quit but promised to appoint a new Prime Minister and a young Cabinet this week which would introduce key constitutional reforms to curb his powers, amid protests over the nation’s worst economic crisis that ousted his elder brother Mahinda Rajapaksa. Violence erupted in Sri Lanka on Monday after supporters of former prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa attacked peaceful anti-government protesters demanding his ouster over the country’s worst economic crisis that led to acute shortages of staple food, fuel and power.
Over 200 people have also been injured in the violence in Colombo and other cities.

Ex-PM Mahinda, 16 others barred from travelling abroad

A Sri Lankan court on Thursday imposed a travel ban on former prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, his son Namal Rajapaksa and 15 others in view of investigations against them for the deadly attack on anti-government protesters in Colombo this week. The Fort Magistrate’s Court barred them from traveling overseas due to the investigations taking place on the attacks on the GotaGoGama and MynaGoGama peaceful protest sites on Monday, News 1st website reported.
The order was also imposed on parliamentarians Johnston Fernando, Pavithra Wanniarachchi, Sanjeewa Edirimanne, Kanchana Jayaratne, Rohitha Abeygunawardena, C. B. Ratnayake, Sampath Athukorala, Renuka Perera, Sanath Nishantha, Senior DIG Deshabandu Thennakoon among others. The Attorney General had requested for a travel ban on the 17 individuals, citing that they need to be present in Sri Lanka for the investigations on the attacks on GotaGoGama and MynaGogama as it appears that they conspired and planned those attacks.
Violence erupted in Sri Lanka on Monday after supporters of Mahinda Rajapaksa attacked peaceful anti-government protesters demanding his ouster over the country’s worst economic crisis that led to acute shortages of staple food, fuel and power.

SourcePTI

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