By Rahul Kumar
New Delhi, April 11: After intense debates in parliament with no solution offered by the truncated government of Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, opposition parties are now considering tabling a motion of no confidence in the beleaguered Rajapaksa.
Opposition leader Sajith Premadasa, who leads the Samagi Jana Balwegaya (SJB) – the island nation’s main opposition party, said his party is considering proposing a no-confidence motion against Rajapaksa unless his government does not brings immediate relief to those affected. by the economic crisis.
Sri Lanka has been rocked by public protests for more than a month with people facing severe shortages of food, fuel and electricity. Angry protesters even attacked the president’s residence and those of other politicians. Due to rising inflation, the masses have cut food spending, schools are closed and tourist activity has come to a standstill.
Premadasa is spearheading a campaign against the 20th Amendment to the constitution which took powers away from parliament and gave them to the president. He told the media: “We have decided to table a motion of no confidence against President Gotabaya Rajapaksa as he has failed to address the country regarding economic policies. We have called a meeting with all the opposition leaders and will make a final decision on that soon.”
His party has also tabled a resolution in parliament to withdraw the 20th Amendment which will transfer more powers from the president to parliament.
Meanwhile, Rajapaksa is also coming under pressure from former allies – the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), which withdrew its support for Rajapaksa earlier this week due to the country’s economic and social collapse. The SLFP also wants President Rajapaksa to reduce the executive powers of the president and hand them over to parliament.
SLFP leader Maithripala Sirisena told reporters that his party will meet President Rajapaksa on Sunday evening to urge him to form an interim administration with a cross-party cabinet. He also wants the president to reduce the number of his family members in government positions.
For nearly a week, Sri Lanka muddled without proper administration after the former ministry resigned due to large-scale public protests. Sirisena clarified that Sunday’s meeting with Rajapaksa will try to convince the president that the latter must reduce the executive powers granted to the president by the 20th amendment to the constitution.
He said: “The whole country is demanding the removal of the Rajapaksa clan and President Rajapaksa from politics in Sri Lanka. It seems that the protests and unrest against the President and the SLPP government will not recede as long as the incumbent government and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa stay in power.”
Stressing that the conditions are dire for the majority of the people, Sirisena said, “People need immediate solutions to their current grievances such as power outage, skyrocketing commodity prices, food shortage, the constant increase in the cost of living and many If we are to find immediate solutions to these pressing problems, we must first and foremost take steps to form a stable government.