Sri Lanka: Opposition leader Premadasa demands president and prime minister's resignation

Ranil Wickremesinghe is holding the Prime Minister's office illegally, he says

Sajith Premadasa (centre) waves to the crowd in this file photo. –AP
Sajith Premadasa (centre) waves to the crowd in this file photo. –AP


Published: Sat 9 Jul 2022, 3:54 PM

Last updated: Sun 10 Jul 2022, 2:25 PM

Amid the ongoing protest outside Sri Lankan President, Gotabaya Rajapakse's residence, leader of Opposition Sajith Premadasa demanded the resignation of the President and Prime Minister.

"No fake discussions. The President and the Prime Minister must resign immediately," Premadasa said in a statement.

Sri Lanka's leader of opposition said that as the people are demanding the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the current Prime Minister, the United People's Power has decided to not participate in the emergency Party Leaders meeting, called by Ranil Wickremesinghe.

He also said that Wickremesinghe is holding the Prime Minister's office illegally.

"It should be noted that when the Rajapaksas who were hiding in the midst of the people's opposition were brought back to the political arena and secured, the one who betrayed the struggle is the current Prime Minister and he is also the defendant in this crisis," the statement reads.

"We are not going to engage in empty discussions like closing the stable after the horse has run away when the end of the anti-democratic government is now in sight," the statement added.

Premadasa said that the "fake" PM have called another roundtable and that also to ensure the safety of the Rajapaksa. "The entire government should resign from such unstable solutions," he added.

Earlier, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had summoned an emergency Party Leaders meeting to discuss the situation and come to a swift resolution.

The Prime Minister is also requesting the Speaker to summon Parliament..

The worsening economic situation in the country has led to increasing tensions and over the last few weeks there were reports of several confrontations between individuals and members of the police force and the armed forces at fuel stations where thousands of desperate members of the public have queued for hours and sometimes days. Police have used tear gas and water cannon at times in an unnecessary and disproportionate manner. On occasions, armed forces have also fired live ammunition.

Sri Lanka is suffering its worst economic crisis since gaining independence in 1948, which comes on the heels of successive waves of COVID-19, threatening to undo years of development progress and severely undermining the country's ability to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The oil supply shortage has forced schools and government offices to close until further notice. Reduced domestic agricultural production, a lack of foreign exchange reserves, and local currency depreciation have fuelled the shortages. The economic crisis will push families into hunger and poverty - some for the first time - adding to the half a million people who the World Bank estimates have fallen below the poverty line because of the pandemic.

Some 6.26 million Sri Lankans, or three in 10 households, are unsure of where their next meal is coming from, according to the latest food insecurity assessment from the World Food Programme (WFP), released on Wednesday.

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