Sri Lanka President says he won't resign as Opposition rejects President's invitation to join unity government

The President's Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna is now trying to hold on to its 113 seats so that it can continue in the government even with a simple majority, while Mahinda Rajapaksa remains the PM

Gotabaya Rajapaksa
Gotabaya Rajapaksa
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NH Web Desk

Amid the ongoing political upheavel in Sri Lanka triggered by the massive economic crisis, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has said that he will not resign, but is ready to hand over the government to whichever party holds 113 seats in Parliament.

On Monday, Rajapaksa held back-to-back political meetings amidst public protests throughout the nation, calling on the President and government to resign, reports the Daily Mirror newspaper.

Voting will take place when Parliament convenes on Tuesday to see which party holds 113 seats or above.

The President's Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) SLPP is now trying to hold on to its 113 seats so that it can continue in the government even with a simple majority, while Mahinda Rajapaksa remains the Prime Minister.

If the government fails to show its numbers then a proposal will be made to the Speaker to call for a debate to see who would be the new Prime Minister and as President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has decided, the government will be handed over to the new party.

Meanwhile, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), the main coalition partner the SLPP, announced that all 14 lawmakers would leave the government and stand independent.


Gotabaya Rajapaksa, a former Defence Secretary in his brother Mahinda Rajapaksa's government, played a crucial role to end 26-year-long war against Tamil rebel Tigers. At the 2019 Presidential election, he was elected President with a sweeping 2/3 majority with over 6.9 million votes.

Lack of dollar reserves and depreciation forced economic crisis lead to severe shortages of fuel, LP gas, electricity and essential food and people are demanding Rajapaksa to give up power immediately.

Sri Lanka's Opposition parties on Monday rejected President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's invitation to join the proposed unity government as a "sham" after he fired his brother and Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa from his post, as protests were held nationwide over the ruling Rajapaksa family's poor handling of the country's worst economic crisis.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Monday fired Basil Rajapaksa from his post and invited the Opposition parties to join a unity Cabinet to tackle the raging public anger against the hardships caused by the economic crisis.

On Sunday night, all 26 Cabinet Ministers submitted letters of resignation after thousands of people defied a countrywide state of emergency and curfew and joined street protests denouncing the government.

The largest opposition political party, the United People's Force, or Samagi Jana Balavegaya, immediately rejected the president's proposal of a unity government and termed this spate of resignations a sham .

Party leader Sajith Premadasa said he wished to see a political model that works. We want resignations and then we want a political model that works. A new Sri Lanka will begin with stronger institutions and not just a change in leadership. An interim government is nothing but internal party politics, he tweeted.

Mano Ganesan, a Tamil leader from the Opposition said his party Tamil People's Alliance and the main Muslim party Sri Lanka Muslim Congress also on the opposition will also not join the unity government.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa named just four Cabinet members after the entire Cabinet other than president Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned last night.

All 26 Cabinet ministers handed in their resignations after thousands of people defied a countrywide state of emergency and curfew and joined street protests denouncing the government. Following the Cabinet's resignation Rajapaksa made an open invitation for all parties to join the unity Cabinet to tackle the current economic crisis.

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Published: 05 Apr 2022, 9:30 AM