Sri Lanka’s cabinet paving the way for unified government amid political and economic collapse – SABC News

Tens of thousands of people who stormed the residences of Sri Lanka’s president and cabinet furious over the worst economic crisis in decades will make room for a unified government on Monday, the prime minister’s office said.

the Speaker of the Parliament said. Chairman Gotabaya Rajapaksa I will resign on Wednesday. There was no direct news from Rajapaksa that his brother and nephew resigned their ministerial posts early as the country began to run out of fuel, food and other necessities amid the worst crisis since independence from Britain in 1948.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said he would resign after protesters set a house on fire. His office said Rajapaksa had confirmed his resignation plan to the prime minister, adding that the cabinet would resign if an agreement was reached to form a full-party government.

“Political instability could hamper negotiations with the International Monetary Fund for a bailout,” the central bank governor told Reuters.

Governor P. Nandalal Weerasinghe said in May that the 22 million island nation could resign if there was no political stability, but he said he would continue to work.

Leaders of the protest movement say they will occupy the offices of the president and prime minister in Colombo until the crowd finally resigns. At the president’s house over the weekend, protesters plunged into the pool, lay on four-poster beds, alternately rolling around on treadmills and testing sofas.

Colombo was calm on Monday as hundreds of people strolled through the president’s office and residence to tour colonial buildings. The police did not attempt to intervene.

“We’re not going anywhere until the president leaves and we have a government that the people can accept,” said 31-year-old Jude Hansana, who has been at the protests outside the residence since early April.

Another protester, Dushantha Gunasinghe, said she had traveled 130 kilometers (80 miles) to Colombo and walked part of the road because of a fuel crisis.

The 28-year-old sat outside the Oval Office and said, “I’m so tired I can barely speak.” “I came this far alone because I believe we have to go through this. This government has to go home and we need a better leader.”

Police said they were given 17.8 million rupees (about $50,000) found at the presidential residence on Saturday by a group of protesters. Videos of young people counting cash quickly spread on social media.

“The funds will be presented to the court and there will be an investigation if the court orders it,” police spokeswoman Narin Talduwa told Reuters.

‘complete chaos’

Opposition leader Sajith Premadasa, whose Samagi Jana Balawegaya party holds 54 seats in the 225-member parliament, said he was ready to enter government.

“As an opposition party, we stand ready to provide leadership to stabilize the country and rebuild the economy,” he said. “We will appoint a new president and prime minister and form a government.”

Rajapaksa and Wickremesinghe were absent from their residence when protesters flocked to the building and have not been seen in public since Friday. Chairman Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena told the BBC that the president is “in a neighboring country” but will return on Wednesday to resign.

Wickremesinghe’s media team held a meeting with ministers in the prime minister’s office on Monday, said in a statement.

Wickremesinghe’s private home in the affluent suburb of Colombo burned down on Saturday and three suspects were arrested.

Constitutional experts say that if the president and prime minister resign, the next step is for the president to be appointed acting president and parliament to elect a new president within 30 days, completing Rajapaksa’s term, which ends in 2024.

Sri Lanka blamed Rajapaksa primarily for the COVID-19 pandemic and the collapse of its tourism-dependent economy, which has been hit hard by the ban on chemical fertilizers that have damaged farm output. The ban was later withdrawn.

Government finances have been paralyzed by rising debt and the massive tax cuts offered by the Rajapaksa regime. As oil prices rose, foreign exchange reserves were rapidly depleted.

There was a long line in front of a gas store with little money left to import fuel, which was heavily rationed. Headline inflation hit 54.6% last month and the central bank warned it could rise to 70% in the next few months.

The political crisis has pushed already defaulted Treasury bonds to new lows. In 2025, bonds were down 2.25 cents to the dollar. USY8137FAC24=TE Most were now under 30 cents, or less than 70% of face value.

Lutz Römeyer of Capital Management Asset Management, which holds Sri Lankan dollar bonds, could close an IMF deal this year or next year, but told bondholders that the restructuring is likely to happen in 2024 or 2025 rather than next year.

“It’s total chaos,” Roehmeyer said. “I expect the transfer of power to become more chaotic and take longer to close the deal.”

Sri Lanka’s cabinet paving the way for unified government amid political and economic collapse – SABC News

Source link Sri Lanka’s cabinet paving the way for unified government amid political and economic collapse – SABC News

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