Troubled Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Saturday appointed four members of the ruling party to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s cabinet, including GL Paris as foreign minister, and even the new prime minister has reached out to the opposition for bipartisan economic and political confrontation. Crisis
According to the President’s Office, Dinesh Gunavardhane has been sworn in as Public Administration Minister, Paris as Foreign Minister, Prasanna Ranatunga as Urban Development and Housing Minister and Kanchna Wijesekara as Power and Energy Minister.
It was the first appointment of an all-party interim government announced by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who is still facing demands for his resignation for mismanaging the island nation’s economy. He was forced to resign on Monday and has already sacrificed his elder brother Mahinda Rajapaksa.
All four recruits are from Rajapaksa’s Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna Party (SLPP).
Paris also had a foreign minister in former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa’s cabinet. By keeping him as the country’s top diplomat, Colombo wants to continue its foreign policy at a time when the debt-ridden country is seeking more help from countries like India.
The SLPP has decided to give significant support to Vikramasinghe, who has only one seat in Parliament, to help him prove his majority in the House.
Most of Sri Lanka’s opposition parties have announced that they will not join the Bikram Singh-led interim government.
In a letter to Bikram Singh, the main opposition party Jana Balawegaya (SJB) leader Sajith Premadasa asked him to support Bikram Singh’s prime ministership and help him deal with the economic crisis.
We all know very well that Sri Lanka is facing a huge economic, social and political crisis. It is undeniable that we all need to end this crisis which is intensifying day by day and establish a stable economy. We all have a historic responsibility to secure the future of the next generation, and our actions at this moment will determine the course of this country, ”wrote Vikramasinghe.
The Prime Minister said he had taken up the task of paving a new political path for the country by establishing a party-free government and had the support of all parties represented in Parliament.
“The only way to save the country from the current crisis is to embark on this new path and work to the best of our ability to bring stability to the country,” he said.
As the days go by, the future of this country is facing more risks. I expect a quick and positive response from you to this request, he added.
Premadasa made one last attempt to become the Prime Minister before Vikramasinghe.
Vikramasinghe asked Premadasa to forget political differences in restructuring the economy to stabilize the country.
In response to the letter, Premadasa assured the Prime Minister that as a responsible opposition party they would assist the government in tackling the economic crisis.
Premadasa said his party, as a responsible opposition, would support the new government’s “correct decision” to address the economic problems facing the people.
He reiterated that his party would press for the formation of a government without the Rajapaksa brothers.
Premadasa decided not to be part of the SJB government and claimed that there was no public approval for Bikram Singh to be the Prime Minister.
Meanwhile, the lawyers’ association, BASL, in a statement, called on Bikram Singh to demonstrate his ability to establish consensus among all political parties in Parliament.
It calls for a timeline for the implementation of constitutional reforms – the 21st Amendment and the abolition of the executive presidency.
The 21st Amendment is expected to repeal 20A, which gave President Rajapaksa uninterrupted power after the repeal of the 19th Amendment, which strengthened parliament over the president.
United National Party (UNP) leader Vikramasinghe, 73, was appointed Sri Lanka’s 26th prime minister on Thursday after the country had been without a government since Monday when President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s elder brother and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned following the outbreak of violence. After attacks on anti-government protesters by his supporters.
Sri Lanka is going through the worst economic crisis since independence in 1948. A crippling deficit in foreign reserves has led to long lines for fuel, cooking gas and other necessities, while power outages and rising food prices have taken a toll on the population.
The economic crisis also triggered a political crisis in Sri Lanka and demanded the resignation of the powerful Rajapaksa.
President Rajapaksa fired his cabinet and appointed a young cabinet in response to his resignation. Protests have been going on in front of his secretariat for more than a month.
On Monday, Mahinda Rajapaksa, the elder brother of Gotabaya Rajapaksa, resigned as prime minister to pave the way for the president to appoint an interim all-party government. On Thursday, Bikram Singh was appointed as the new Prime Minister of the country.
Meanwhile, police media spokesperson Nihal Thaldua said about 90 people had been arrested in connection with Monday’s violence across the island.
He added that about 100 people had been arrested for inciting violence through social media networks.