As the protestors stormed the official residence of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe called an emergency meeting with party leaders in order to control the current situation on Saturday.
According to local media reports, the meeting was also attended by the Speaker where the ministers urged Rajapaksa to tender his resignation in order to stabilise the situation in the country. As of now, there were no reports of the President tendering his resignation to the Speaker, media reports quoted the Prime Minister’s office saying, “President said he will respect the decision taken at the Party Leaders’ meeting today.”
Meanwhile, amid reports of the President fleeing to some other place, a government spokesman, Mohana Samaranayake, said he had no information about Rajapaksa’s whereabouts.
Though the visuals of the Presidential palace were “unprecedented,” it was not clear if Rajapaksa was inside his residence. In the television footage, it showed hundreds of people inside the well-fortified house and on the grounds outside, some taking a dip in the garden pool and others in a jubilant mood.
Wickremesinghe says the financial condition of the country depends on IMF aid
Earlier this month, newly-appointed Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said that the nation was targeting $5 billion for repayments and $1 billion to support the country’s reserves. He said that the discussions with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are currently going on and was optimistic that the negotiations would conclude this month. Further, he clarified that the debt restructuring has already begun after the appointment of financial and legal advisors.
According to the Sri Lankan PM, the financial condition of the country will depend on the agreement with the IMF, if reached positively.
PM Ranil accuses the Rajapaksa govt of the Sri Lanka crisis
Meanwhile, the Sri Lankan PM blamed the earlier government for the food crisis in the country. According to him, the Mahinda Rajapaksa-led government had abruptly implemented a 100% organic agriculture model by banning chemical fertilisers.
He said this resulted in the collapse of the agriculture sector. Moreover, he claimed that foreign exchange shortages caused by a fall in tourism during the COVID-19 pandemic were also a major reason for the current situation. However, this time, securing fertiliser and compiling a food security program were being given equal priority, he maintained.