Troubled Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said on Wednesday he would appoint a new prime minister and a cabinet this week that would introduce constitutional reform amid widespread anti-government protests over the country’s worst economic crisis.
In his address to the nation, President Gotabaya said that after the appointment of a new Prime Minister and government, a constitutional amendment would be introduced to implement the provisions of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which would give more power to Parliament.
“I will appoint a young cabinet without Rajapaksa,” Gotabaya said as he began talks with political parties to stop the country from drifting towards anarchy.
He added, “The prime minister of the new government will be given a chance to take the country forward by creating a new program.
Sri Lanka has been without a government for the past two days since the resignation of its President Gotabhaya’s elder brother and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, paving the way for the formation of an all-party interim government.
The President is constitutionally empowered to run the country without a cabinet.
Talking about the violence that took place in the country earlier this week, he said that what happened on May 9 was very unfortunate.
“Assassinations, assaults, intimidation, destruction of property and subsequent heinous acts cannot be justified,” the president said.
Gotabaya said the inspector general of police had been instructed to investigate.
He added that the Sri Lankan police and the three-armed forces have been instructed to strictly enforce the law against those who cause violence.
“Strict law enforcement action will be taken against those who planned, aided, abetted and involved the incident,” Gotabaya said, urging everyone to remain calm. In 1948. The crisis is partly caused by a lack of foreign exchange, which means the country cannot afford to import major food and fuel, leading to severe shortages and high prices.
Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets across Sri Lanka since April 9 to demand the resignation of President Gotabaya and his brother Mahinda, as the government runs out of money for vital imports; The prices of essential commodities have skyrocketed and there is a severe shortage of fuel, medicine and electricity.