The People Are Looking Forward to the Resolution of the Protracted Economic Crisis | Print edition

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In the midst of the country’s economic crisis, the rapidly changing political landscape makes it all the more difficult to read and interpret the news.

The absence of clear and authoritative news makes such an interpretation all the more dangerous and speculative.

An example of such uncertainty relates to the circumstances surrounding the incidents of May 9, when a large crowd of Sri Lankan Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) supporters gathered at Temple Trees ostensibly to show solidarity with Mahinda Rajapaksa who reportedly announced his resignation. .

However, according to a May 23 Island report quoting SLPP MP Sarath Weerasekera, Mahinda Rajapaksa had not decided to resign on May 9 despite SLPP MPs being urged to bring supporters to Temple Trees. for a meeting.

According to Mr. Weerasekera, the then Prime Minister Rajapaksa had, in a conversation with him on May 8, denied reports that the latter planned to resign the following day.

When the former prime minister resigned on May 9, he never made a statement in parliament or held a press conference to explain the reasons for his resignation. People must have speculated that he was doing so by complying with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s request for resignation, although the President himself never informed the people why he asked his elder brother to resign.

Again, people could only speculate that this was done to deflect the cry from the aragalaya this was echoed in the rest of the country for the president himself to step down.

Last Friday, Mahinda Rajapaksa broke his silence when he spoke about the vote of condolences for former SLPP parliamentarian Amarakeerthi Atukorala, victim of the violence that unleashed throughout the country in the aftermath noon of May 9.

The former Prime Minister claimed that the ‘aragalaya‘ was no longer an innocent or peaceful struggle. He told parliament that even the religious leaders of the ‘aragalaya’ did not intervene to stop the atrocities of May 9 and after nor did they condemn such actions. He accused those who were in the ‘aragalaya’ to have his hands stained with blood and his mind full of hatred.

However, Mahinda Rajapaksa did not discuss his decision to resign or the reasons for such a momentous decision.

On the other hand, his younger brother Basil Rajapaksa held a press conference to announce his resignation as an MP. He too did not give a convincing reason for his resignation although it is not hard to guess. Although he said in passing that he was making way for a “more suitable” person to enter Parliament, it is not difficult to read between the lines that the proposal to ban people with dual nationality from entering Parliament and occupying high positions in the government may have prompted his resignation.

The fact that Basil Rajapaksa threw in the towel also raised expectations that the 21st Amendment would finally see the light of day and pass through parliament.

However, the comments he made at the press conference provided additional insight. He disagrees with the view that the current crisis is the fault of the government itself. Speaking about his tenure as finance minister, he said: “I think I did everything I could do. But I couldn’t do everything people wanted.

In a significant remark, he said he would stay in politics and continue to work to build the SLPP. This would imply that he would continue to influence the government with the near majority of two-thirds of parliamentarians who entered the legislature through the SLPP.

Meanwhile, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa continues despite Galle Face’s ‘Gota Go Home’ cry that has echoed across the country. Last week, in an interview with Bloomberg, he said he did not want to leave as a “failed president” and intended to complete his term, although he would not contest the presidency again.

This is not surprising if we look at developments in the political sphere. After having succeeded in getting Mahinda Rajapaksa to resign as Prime Minister, he offered the post to several parliamentarians. Opposition leader Sajith Premadasa and Sarath Fonseka both declined, while media reported last week that the offer had also been made to Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake.

There is no information on whether he made such an offer to an SLPP parliamentarian.

After finally persuading Ranil Wickremesinghe to accept the post of prime minister, the president was clearly a relieved man, with the burden of resolving the economic crisis having passed to the leader of the United National Party (UNP). From everything in the public domain, it is clear that Ranil Wickremesinghe manages the economic affairs of the government.

President Rajapaksa is happy to let it go as he is relieved of the burden of lifting the country out of economic crisis. In this process however, the president has been shown in a comparatively poor light. While Ranil Wickremesinghe has been seen as active in resolving economic issues, the president in recent months has been seen as inactive in dealing with the main crisis.

It is no doubt to distract Ranil Wickremesinghe’s attention that the president is preparing to appoint business leader Dhammika Perera to the post of minister. An extraordinary notification in the Official Gazette has already been published creating a Ministry of Technology and Investment Promotion.

In the meantime, people are eagerly awaiting a sign of relief from their endless problems caused by gross mismanagement of the economy.

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