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Sri Lankan Oppn rejects unity government offer and calls for Prez’s resignation

The Sri Lankan opposition on Monday dismissed the President’s invitation to join a unity government as “nonsensical” and instead called for his resignation over the country’s growing shortage of food, fuel and medicines.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s overture came as armed forces tried to quell further demonstrations over what the government said was the country’s worst economic crisis since independence in 1948.

Police fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse protesters trying to storm the private home of the prime minister – the president’s older brother – in Tangalle, which was once a bastion of Rajapaksa support in the south of the island.

The President urged opposition parties represented in Parliament to “join efforts to find solutions to the national crisis” after nearly all cabinet ministers resigned late at night to pave the way for a reshuffled government.

But the left-wing People’s Liberation Front responded by urging Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his once popular and powerful family to resign immediately. The minority’s main opposition party, the Tamil National Alliance, also opposed the idea of ​​joining a Rajapaksa-led government. “His offer to reshuffle the cabinet with opposition MPs is nonsensical and infuriates the people who have called for his resignation,” TNA spokesman Abraham Sumanthiran told AFP.

The main opposition party, Samagi Jana Balawegaya, made no formal statement, but its leader Sajith Premadasa pledged on Sunday that it would not join a government that includes members of Rajapaksa’s family.

Earlier in the day, the president sworn in new finance minister Ali Sabry, who will replace recent Rajapaksa brother Basil and will be among the key decision-makers as the country begins bailout talks with the International Monetary Fund. GL Pieris remains Secretary of State.

Also, former Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) official P. Nandalal Weerasinghe said he had accepted an offer to become the bank’s next governor. “The president called me and made the offer and I accepted,” he told Reuters.

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/international/world-news/sri-lanka-oppn-rejects-unity-govt-offer-seeks-prez-resignation/articleshow/90650232.cms Sri Lankan Oppn rejects unity government offer and calls for Prez’s resignation

Russell Falcon

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