Amid the escalating political and economic crisis in Sri Lanka, President Gotabaya Rajapksa on Wednesday addressed the nation and said he was working with all party leaders to establish a new government in the country. He also promised to appoint a new Prime Minister and a “young cabinet without any Rajapaksas,” according to news agency PTI
“I am going to appoint the prime minister and the cabinet that has the trust of the people,” he said in a televised address.
Gotabaya also spoke on the recent violent clashes, and said he has ordered “relevant authorities” to take action against the perpetrators of the violence. “No one can justify the violent acts orchestrated on May 9 and during the past few days,” he also said, adding, “violence and hatred must be stopped.”
The president also said he will empower parliament, bringing back the 19th amendment. Gotabaya added that he was ready to abolish the executive presidency once the country stabilizes, Newswire reported.
The address comes as Sri Lanka is battling its worst economic crisis and political instability since its independence in 1948. Its Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned on Monday after his supporters clashed with the anti-government protesters outside President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s office in Colombo. Eight people died and over 200 were injured.
The country’s defense ministry on Tuesday ordered troops to shoot at any persons damaging public property or threatening lives, as it attempted to take control of the situation.
The situation is reported to be relatively calm now as strict curfew is in effect.
The island nation needs at least USD 4 billion to tide over its mounting economic woes, according to a report by Reuters. For the same, the country has been negotiating with Intenrational Monetary Fund as well as World Bank for a relief aid.
The country has also approached China, Japan and the Asian Development Bank for help, Reuters also reported.