'There can be a bloodbath…': Sri Lankan ruling coalition MPs' warning

Earlier today Sri Lanka lost its second finance minister in 48 hours - Ali Sabry resigned a day after Basil Rajapaksa, the president's brother, was removed.
A woman attends a protest to demand Sri Lanka's President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to resign after his government lost its majority. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte(REUTERS)
A woman attends a protest to demand Sri Lanka's President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to resign after his government lost its majority. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte(REUTERS)
Updated on Apr 05, 2022 06:27 PM IST
Copy Link

A group of Sri Lanka lawmakers have backed the formation of an interim government to steer the nation out of its worst economic crisis in decades. The lawmakers - including a cabinet minister who quit Sunday and another from the ruling party - warned of 'violence' and 'anarchy', the Associated Press reported, if a majority-backed interim government is not constituted at the earliest. The lawmakers urged the parliament speaker to lead discussions with all parties to select an interim prime minister with the support of a majority of legislators.

"The first condition to solve this problem is that this government has to leave. In its place there should be an interim government," Wimal Weerawansa, a former cabinet member, said Tuesday.

"We as members of the government and opposition have a responsibility. .. If not, there can be a bloodbath," Wijayadasa Rajapakshe, a ruling party lawmaker, said, and warned, "If that happens, you and all of us will be responsible."

The parliament met today for the first time since these protests began.

Their warnings come on a day the ruling coalition lost the support of over 40 lawmakers in the 225-member parliament, leaving president Gotabaya Rajapaksa's government mired in further trouble.

The president has insisted he will not step down but has offered to hand over the government to a party with 113 seats (a simple majority), a local report said.

The opposition have so far refused to play ball and dismissed Rajapaksa's offer of a 'unity government' - essentially an all-party administration - as a 'sham'.

Sajith Premadasa, the leader of largest - the SJB - said: "We must heed the voices in the streets. The government should go, starting from the president."

The SJB has 54 seats. The ruling coalition controlled nearly 150 seats before this crisis but the exit of dozens has left it relying on independent legislators.

Earlier today Sri Lanka lost its second finance minister in 48 hours - Ali Sabry resigned a day after Basil Rajapaksa, the president's brother, was removed.

Sabry was due to hold talks with the International Monetary Fund later this month to find a way out of this crisis.

READ: Finance minister quits after govt loses majority in parliament

On Monday an embattled Gotabaya Rajapaksa lost his entire cabinet - 26 ministers quit under pressure as thousands of angry people defied a curfew to protest against the government and demand the president's resignation.

So far, however neither Gotabaya Rajapaksa nor his brother Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is the prime minister, have quit.

READ: Rajapaksa declares 'emergency', gives military sweeping powers

Discontent against the Rajapaksa family that controls the government had been simmering for days till it erupted last week with hundreds of people trying to storm the president's Colombo home.

Sri Lanka's crisis has been triggered by a mountain of debt.

It has $51 billion in foreign debts, of which $4 billion is due this year, including $1 billion in July. The country has only $2.31 billion in reserves.

Explained: Sri Lanka economic crisis and India's $2.5 billion line of credit

India has stepped in with lines of credit worth over $2 billion and fuel aid worth an additional $500 million. Sri Lanka has also approached China for assistance.

With input from AP

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Chandrashekar Srinivasan is a Senior Editor at Hindustan Times. A journalist with 11+ years across print and digital media, he also has degrees in Sociology and Economics. He has worked in the political, business, sports, and entertainment news spaces, but is happiest just watching football.

Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • bortion rights activists hold signs during a protest in front of the Supreme Court building following the announcement to the Dobbs v Jackson Women's Health Organization ruling on June 25, 2022 in Washington, DC. 

    Your body belongs to Christ: Anti-abortionists see divine hand in court ruling

    Diana Villanueva's wasn't greeted by the crowds of protestors who often gather outside facilities in the United States to try to persuade women to change their minds. After you go through what you go through then you ponder what you did. That's when the remorse starts kicking in." "A lot of those ladies say: 'It's my body, my choice'. It's not your body; your body belongs to Christ."

  • Former Pakistan's prime minister Imran Khan gestures during a press conference in Islamabad.

    Staff found planting spy device in Imran Khan's room. Here's what happened next

    A spying attempt on former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan has been foiled, Pakistan's ARY News reported. An employee was allegedly paid to install a device in the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief's bedroom. PTI leader Shehbaz Gill claimed that an employee who cleans the former prime minister's room was paid to install the spy device, terming the act heinous and unfortunate. The PTI leader alleged.

  • Two car-shipping carriers berthed at Sri Lanka's Chinese-built Hambantota Port.

    Was cash strapped Sri Lanka duped by China in Hambantota Port?

    The Hambantota Port is located in southern Sri Lanka close to the east-west sea route. Its construction began in 2008 which was funded through Chinese loans of about US$ 1.3 billion. The construction was carried out by a joint venture of China Harbor Engineering Company and the Sino Hydro Corporation. By 2016, the Hambantota Port under the ownership of Sri Lanka Ports Authority had incurred losses of about SLR 46.7 billion.

  • Images showed the ship's three-tube torpedo launcher and gun mount.

    US WWII destroyer found off Philippines

    A US navy destroyer sunk during World War II has been found nearly 7,000 metres (23,000 feet) below sea level off the Philippines, making it the world's deepest shipwreck ever located, an American exploration team said. A crewed submersible filmed, photographed and surveyed the battered hull of the "Sammy B" during a series of dives over eight days this month, Texas-based undersea technology company Caladan Oceanic said.

  • Taliban's urgent appeal to West after deadly earthquake ravages Afghanistan

    Taliban's urgent appeal to West after deadly earthquake ravages Afghanistan

    Afghanistan's Taliban administration on Saturday called on international governments to roll back sanctions and lift a freeze on central bank assets following the earthquake that killed more than 1,000 people and left thousands homeless. The 6.1-magnitude quake that struck the east of the country early on Wednesday destroyed or damaged 10,000 homes and injured about 2,000 people, straining the country's fragile health system and posing a major test for the ruling Taliban.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Sunday, June 26, 2022