Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s attempt to form an all-party cabinet with opposition in place of the one that resigned on Sunday night amidst mounting streets protests, has failed with opposition parties refusing to join.
The two main opposition parties – the United People’s Front (UPF) with 54 MPs and the Tamil National Alliance, with 14 MPs representing Northern and Eastern Tamils who have close ties with India, have turned down the President’s invitation to join the Cabinet.
TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran told IANS that President Rajapaksa must listen to the people
and leave his post. “People are demanding him to leave not to form a cabinet with the
opposition parties,” he said.
“He must listen to the people and leave,” he added.
The majority opposition party UPF, led by Sajith Premada, too has refused the President’s invitation.
“We are not prepared to accept any post in a government which includes the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna, the party lead by Gotabaya Rajapaksa.” party’s General Secretary Ranjith Madduma Bandara said.
Facing public protests over economic crisis, the members of the cabinet resigned on Sunday night. The President’s elder brother and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, however, remained.
On Monday morning, President Rajapaksa invited all political parties including the opposition to accept ministerial posts and to help to resolve the current crisis in the country.
However, on Monday, the President named four Ministers with three reappointments and replacing former Justice Minister Ali Sabry in the post of Finance Minister vacated by his younger brother Basil Rajapaksa.
Amidst mounting public protest against the Rajapaksa family, four other prominent Rajapaksa family members who held cabinet posts have decided not to take up ministerial posts. They included President’s younger brother Basil, Elder brother Chamal and his son Shasheendra and Namal Rajapaksa, the son of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Started from Thursday night when violent protesters blocked the President’s house in Colombo suburbs, people have taken to street demanding the President quit.
President Rajapaska imposed rigid emergency law and curfew and blocked all social media platforms to thwart island wide protest on Sunday organised over social media. In defiance of curfew people protested on streets chanting “Gota go home”.
From Monday morning, people have been protesting in capital Colombo and around the country and had surrounded the houses of government MPs. They demand Rajapaksas to step down and hand over the government.