Sri Lankan PM Wickremesinghe calls cabinet meeting amid political turmoil

Colombo: Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe held a cabinet meeting with all ministers in the Prime Minister’s Office on Monday, shortly after Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa officially informed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe that he was resigning.

“Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe held discussions with cabinet ministers at the Prime Minister’s Office this morning (11 am),” the Prime Minister’s media wing said in a statement. It said that all the ministers who attended the meeting were of the opinion that as soon as there is an agreement to form an all-party government, they are ready to hand over their responsibility to that government.

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has officially informed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe that he is resigning, as pressure from protesters intensifies.

According to the Colombo Gazette, the prime minister’s media unit said Rajapaksa had informed him that he would resign as announced earlier.

Earlier on Saturday, Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abhaywardene announced in a press conference that the President would resign from his post on July 13.

Rajapaksa’s resignation came after thousands of people stormed the Rashtrapati Bhavan in the fort on Saturday. Dramatic scenes came from the PM’s official residence where he was seen playing carrom board, sleeping on the sofa, enjoying in the park premises and cooking dinner.

Even Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe announced to step down from his posts amid the ongoing protests. However, the protesters occupying the residences of the President and the Prime Minister have made it clear that they will continue to occupy their homes until they resign from their posts.

The deteriorating economic situation in the country has added to the tension and over the past few weeks, there have been reports of several confrontations between individuals and members of the police force and the armed forces at fuel stations, where thousands of desperate members of the public have queued up. For hours and sometimes days.

Sri Lanka is facing its worst economic crisis since gaining independence in 1948, which comes on the heels of successive waves of COVID-19 that threaten to undo years of development progress .

The lack of oil supply has forced the closure of schools and government offices until further notice.

Decline in domestic agricultural production, depletion of foreign exchange reserves and local currency depreciation fueled the shortfall. The economic crisis will push families into hunger and poverty – some for the first time – adding up to half a million people who the World Bank estimates have fallen below the poverty line because of the pandemic.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by Zee News staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)