Sri Lanka opposition plans to form new government

2022-07-10 13:54:16
Sri Lanka opposition plans to form new government

Representatives from opposition camps have agreed to meet on Sunday in a bid to form and install a new government to end months of political crises.

On Saturday, thousands of protesters in the capital Colombo stormed both officials’ homes and set fire to one of the buildings in protest at the nation’s economic crisis.

Sri Lanka's beleaguered President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had already fled his official residence in Colombo before protesters stormed the compound.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who came to power after the president’s older brother resigned as prime minister in May following violent protests, said he will leave office once a new government is in place.

The protesters who stormed the two officials' residences on Saturday spent the night there, saying they will stay until the leaders officially resign.

Video and pictures showed people who had entered Sri Lanka's president's residence splashing in the garden pool, lying on beds and using their cellphone cameras to capture the moment.

Some made tea or used the gym while others issued statements from a conference room demanding that the president and prime minister go.

Gotabaya had been a popular figure among Sri Lanka's powerful Sinhala Buddhist majority, who credit him with ending the country’s 26-year-long civil war in 2009.

However, as the tourism industry, the island-nation’s economic mainstay, declined due to the global COVID pandemic, and his popularity waned as well.

Rising fuel prices since the beginning of the year exacerbated protests across the country.

The government is seeking a bailout by asking for its 17th rescue package from the International Monetary Fund. It has also asked for loans from India and China.

Colombo relies heavily on foreign aid to provide commodities. It imports fuel, food, paper, sugar, lentils, pharmaceuticals, and transportation equipment, among other things.

Most countries will maintain foreign currencies to trade for these commodities, but the sky-high costs in Sri Lanka cause the lack of foreign cash.

The epidemic and the Russia-Ukraine conflict have worsened the situation; however, warnings regarding a potential economic calamity have been issued for a long time.

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