Sri Lanka’s opposition leaders ask Prime Minister Wickremesinghe to resign before president resigns – Times of India


COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s opposition leaders have Prime Minister Ranil . requested Wickremesinghe according to a media report to resign before the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who has pledged to resign on Wednesday. Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP MA Sumanthiran on Wednesday said the decision was taken at an all-party meeting attended by leaders except the government, News 1st channel reported.
He said two unanimous decisions were made during the meeting, one was for Wickremesinghe to resign immediately, while the other was for the speaker to fire the prime minister before the president’s resignation takes effect, the broadcaster reported.
Meanwhile, Chief Opposition Whip Lakshman Kiriella of the Samagi Jana Balavegaya said the commanders of the three-armed forces were also present at the meeting.
“The prime minister avoided the party leaders,” he said.
The commanders said the protesters were near the gates of parliament and wanted permission to repel them by force, he said.
“We said we cannot agree to such a request,” he said, adding that the last party leadership meeting called on the president and prime minister to resign.
Leaders have asked the speaker to fire Wickremesinghe to take up the post of acting president, and Parliament is ready to work with him after that.
President Rajapaksa fled to the Maldives on Wednesday from where he named Prime Minister Wickremesinghe as acting president, escalating the political crisis and sparking a new wave of protests in the country teetering under the worst financial crisis in decades.
Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena said President Rajapaksa has informed him by telephone that he will resign today as promised. He said the vote for the new president will take place on July 20.
Wickremesinghe, who is now acting president, has declared a state of emergency and a curfew has been imposed in the western province as protesters gathered near his office on Flower Road in Colombo.
Sri Lanka, a country of 22 million people, is gripped by an unprecedented economic turmoil, the worst in seven decades, as millions struggle to buy food, medicine, fuel and other necessities. Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said last week that Sri Lanka is now a bankrupt country.

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