Tuesday, March 21, 2023

SL’s Tamil party supports Prez call to form national govt

Sri Lanka’s main Tamil minority party TNA on Monday announced that it will support President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s efforts to form an all-party national government to help the bankrupt country to recover from the worst economic crisis.
R Sampanthan, a veteran Tamil political leader, told reporters that the move to form an all-party government is the best step to be taken right now and his party will support the move.
Another Tamil National Alliance (TNA) spokesman said that the party has decided that the formation of an all-party government would be suitable in order to tackle the economic and political crisis that Sri Lanka is faced with. However, the TNA has not made a decision yet to take up Cabinet positions in such a government. President Wickremesinghe last week wrote to the members of Parliament calling on them to join him to form a national all-party government to tackle the island nation’s economic crisis.
“The government is currently engaged in great efforts to gradually restore normalcy to the political and social unrest created by the economic crisis that the country is facing today. Accordingly, initial plans required to implement a systematic economic programme are being formulated while preliminary measures are also being undertaken for the creation of economic stability,” Wickremesinghe said in the letter on Friday. The main Opposition party Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB), however, said that invitations to form the all-party government must be extended to parties and not individuals.
TNA had officially supported Wickremesinghe’s rival Dullas Alahapperuma in the parliamentary vote on July 20 to elect the successor to the resigned president Gotabaya Rajapaksa. But at least a few of their 10 MPs were believed to have favoured Wickremesinghe in the secret vote against the party’s stand.
President Wickremesinghe is to ceremonially address Parliament on Wednesday where he is expected to make his policy speech. Sri Lankan MPs on July 20 elected Wickremesinghe as the country’s new president, with the majority of the vote coming from lawmakers representing ousted President Rajapaksa’s Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) party.
The 73-year-old President was appointed for the rest of the term of Rajapaksa who initially fled to the Maldives and then to Singapore.
Rajapaksa is accused of mishandling the economic crisis, the worst since 1948.
Wickremesinghe was earlier appointed prime minister by Rajapaksa in mid-May. He was tasked with reviving the economy by giving early solutions to fuel, cooking gas and power shortage problems, which triggered mass agitations against Rajapaksa.
The government declared bankruptcy in mid-April by refusing to honour its international debt.
Wickremesinghe on Wednesday said his government’s main priorities are to fix the country’s ailing economy and end the severe fuel shortage that has exacerbated after the last shipment under the Indian credit line arrived in the country in June.


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