Political stalemate continues in Sri Lanka as meeting between President Rajapaksa, ex-President Srisena ends without conclusion

11 April, 2022 | Pragati Singh

The meeting between President Gottabaya Rajapaksa and former President Maithripala Sirisena's Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) to resolve the country's political and economic problems concluded witho...

The meeting between President Gottabaya Rajapaksa and former President Maithripala Sirisena’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) to resolve the country’s political and economic problems concluded without a resolution on Sunday, according to local media.

“The main objective of the meeting is to coerce President Rajapaksa to form an interim administration under an all-party cabinet sans Rajapaksas with the least number of portfolios,” Srisena had said addressing the media at the party office prior to the meeting. However, the two sides did not reach any conclusion on the formation of an interim government and agreed to have another round of discussions after the New Year holiday, reported Daily Mirror.

Notably, the SLFP group led by former President Maithripala Sirisena met with the President for the second time, and the discussion focused on the concerns raised in the letter delivered to the President by the SLFP, the independent Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), and the 11-party coalition.

However, according to the media outlet citing informed sources, President Rajapaksa told the SLFP that he would agree to implement only the points acceptable under the Constitution and ruled out the possibility of establishing a national executive council because there were no constitutional provisions for it.

Earlier, in the midst of the country’s ongoing economic crisis, eleven coalition allies of the Sri Lankan government and an independent group of former ruling party parliamentarians led by Anura Priyadarshana Yapa wrote to President Rajapaksa on Friday, requesting the removal of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and the formation of a new cabinet led by a new PM.

The letter was signed on behalf of the 42 MPs who left the government and sat in Parliament as an independent group by the President of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), former President Maithripala Sirisena, Member of Parliament (MP) Vasudeva Nanayakkara, MP Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, and President’s Counsel Wijayadasa Rajapaksha, according to Colombo Page, citing local media.

On Tuesday, MPs defected from the government, reducing the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) to a minority administration.

According to the article, the MPs urged the formation of an all-party national executive council to address the problem, as well as the nomination of a new prime minister and an all-party cabinet by parliamentary consensus.
The letter also urged the President to cooperate with the newly constituted Prime Minister and Cabinet to convene elections in a timely manner.

The letter proposed appointing an expert group to assess the number of ministries and appointing an all-party cabinet appropriately, as well as providing a short- and medium-term solution to the situation.

Sri Lanka is in the grip of a severe economic crisis, with food and fuel scarcity impacting a huge number of its citizens, leading in enormous protests against the government’s handling of the issue.

Since the commencement of the COVID-19 epidemic, the economy has been in free collapse, resulting in a tourist crush.

Sri Lanka is also experiencing a foreign exchange crisis, which has hampered the country’s ability to purchase food and gasoline, resulting in power outages. Due to a lack of vital products, Sri Lanka was compelled to seek aid from friendly countries.