Sri Lankan parliamentarians are preparing to gather on Saturday to start choosing a new leader to finish the term that has been abandoned by the outgoing President, who resigned and fled the country following widespread protests over the collapse of the country’s economy. One day prior to this, Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister got sworn in as the interim President till the Parliament chooses a successor to Gotabaya Rajapaksa, whose term was going to end in 2024.
A new Prime Minister might be chosen by the new President, who would then need the consent of Parliament. The security perimeter around the Parliament building in the nation’s capital, Colombo, was tightened on Saturday with the closure of nearby public highways and the presence of armed, masked soldiers. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe declared on television that he would start the process of amending the constitution to limit the presidential powers, strengthen Parliament, reestablish peace and order, and pursue legal action against “insurgents.”
It was unclear to whom he was referring, but he claimed that genuine demonstrators would not have taken part in the clashes that took place Wednesday night outside the Parliament when numerous soldiers are known to have suffered injuries. “Protesters and insurgents are very different from one another. Insurgents will face legal action from us, ” he added. After Rajapaksa left Sri Lanka on Wednesday and travelled first to the Maldives and then to Singapore, Wickremesinghe was named interim president. Wickremesinghe should also resign, many demonstrators argued.
Opposition promises to listen to people-
While this was going on, the opposition leader running for president of Sri Lanka swore to “listen to the people” and hold Rajapaksa responsible. Sajith Premadasa stated in an interview with the Associated Press, conducted from his office, that if elected to the Parliament, he would make sure that “an electoral dictatorship never, ever occurs” in Sri Lanka. “What we ought to do is that. Catching those who robbed Sri Lanka is what we do. The appropriate constitutional, legal, and democratic processes should be used to accomplish it “added Premadasa.
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Sri Lanka lacks the funds to pay for imports of essential necessities including food, fertiliser, medicine, and gasoline for its 22 million inhabitants. The economy had been booming and the middle class was increasing and comfortable before the crisis. Thus, the sudden economic decline has been all the more shocking. The protests highlighted the political clan that has dominated Sri Lanka for the majority of the last two decades, the Rajapaksas, and their sudden downfall. Catholic priest and protest organiser The Rev. Jeewantha Peiris claimed that the nation has “gone through a hard journey.”
“All of Sri Lanka’s residents, including those living abroad, took part in the country’s struggle, and we are happy as this is a collective effort,” he said. The military issued an ominous warning on Thursday, saying it had the authority to act in the event of turmoil. The speaker asked the public to “create a peaceful atmosphere” so that Parliament could “operate freely and sincerely” and the democratic process could proceed. Sri Lanka is requesting assistance from the IMF and other creditors, but Wickremesinghe recently claimed that even receiving a bailout has been challenging due to the country’s dire financial situation.
Sri Lankan protestors blame Rajapaksa for crisis-
The protesters charge Rajapaksa and his influential political family of stealing money from the government and hastening the collapse of the nation through poor economic management. Although Rajapaksa recognised that some of his actions contributed to Sri Lanka’s collapse, the family has refuted the claims of corruption. University student and demonstrator Maduka Iroshan, 26, expressed his “thrill” upon Rajapaksa’s resignation, saying that Rajapaksa “ruined the hopes of the young generation.” Last weekend, protesters invaded President Wickremesinghe’s official mansion as well as the president’s home and office, bringing months of demonstrations to a frenetic conclusion. They seized his office on Wednesday.
After clashes outside of Parliament that left dozens hurt, the demonstrators initially vowed to stay until a new administration was in place, but they changed their strategy on Thursday. It appears that they were worried that an uptick in violence would weaken their message. Mirak Raheem, a protester, remarked on the lack of violence and indicated that there was still much to be done. “The fact that it occurred as a result of primarily nonviolent protest is quite astounding. However, this is only the beginning and the efforts to revive the economy and boost public trust in the democratic system,” Rahim mentioned.
Early on Wednesday, Rajapaksa and his wife snuck off in the night aboard a military aircraft. According to Singapore’s Foreign Ministry, he travelled there on Thursday. It stated that he had not asked for refuge and that it was unknown whether he would remain or leave. He has received medical care there in the past, including heart surgery.
Rajapaksa most likely intended to leave while he still had constitutional protection and access to the plane because Sri Lankan presidents are shielded from arrest while in office. Rajapaksa and his brother, who was president at the time, were previously praised by the island’s Buddhist Sinhalese majority for their merciless campaign, which served as a military stratagem and contributed to the conclusion of the nation’s 26-year civil conflict. Many Sri Lankans continued to support Rajapaksa despite claims of wartime atrocities, such as authorising military attacks on ethnic Tamil civilians and kidnapping journalists. He has consistently refuted the charges.