ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka opposition party the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna-led National People’s Power (NPP) is ready to form a six-month government with a small cabinet of their choosing under President Gotabaya Rajapaksa pending his removal from office, JVP/NPP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said.
Alternatively, he told reporters on Wednesday July 06, the party is open to supporting a new interim government that presents a common minimum progamme, from the opposition benches.
Dissanayake made this comment a day after Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe openly challenged him in parliament to take up the premiership and the government in a bid to “turn things around in just six months”, a statement he attributed to the JVP leader. Wickremesinghe sarcastically said resolving Sri Lanka’s economic crisis – its worst since independence – in such a short time would be a historic feat deserving of a Nobel prize and that he would gladly resign if the NPP were to present a viable plan.
Responding to Wickremesinghe, Dissanayake clarified that he meant the party would only provide immediate solutions to the current fuel, gas and medicine shortages in the country within the next six month and not a complete recovery.
Regardless, he and the party are ready to either form a government or support an interim government from the opposition, he reiterated at Wednesday’s press conference.
Dissanayake and the JVP/NPP had previously refused to be in a government under President Rajapaksa, whose resignation Sri Lanka’s protesting youth have been demanding since at least April.
Asked if there has been a change in this stance, the JVP leader said: “He is the next step. As we have said, the president, the prime minister and the government must resign. But it is the sitting president that must remove the incumbent prime minister. Constitutionally, you cannot appoint a PM without a president.So yes, that is the second step.”
Pressed by journalists if their new government would take measures to remove the president, Dissanayake said: “Yes. It is impossible to work with him still around.”
“His presidency has been invalidated. He is hanging on constitutionally and legally, and if that legal bit can be removed, we will do that too,” he said. (Colombo/Jul06/2022)