Everyone doesn’t Ranil Wickramasinghe’s appointment as Prime Minister. He was the only member of Parliament ( from the national list) when the whole group of UNP candidates lost their parliamentary seats. It took nearly a year to fill the UNP National list vacancy. In the end, the UNP recommended Ranil Wickramasinghe’s name.
Likewise, everyone blames the Opposition Leader for dilly-dallying the issue by presenting numerous excuses, such as ” the President should leave.” By the time he agreed to accept the Prime Minister’s position (still under several clauses), the stable was closed and the horse had bolted. Usually, an opposition leader understands the Constitution of a country. For example, there is a shadow cabinet in England, and the opposition leader takes immense responsibility on national issues. He may disagree in Parliament over political issues but never backs out when national issues are involved. It was a golden opportunity that Sajith Premadasa lost due to his procrastination. Maybe he did not have the bottle or the political experience to manage the present chaotic situation in the country. MP Harin Fernando of the same party commented that “ Sajith was in an ‘Assai Bayai’ ( Love and hate) situation.”. He publicly announced that he would quit Samagi Balawegaya and work independently with any patriotic team. At long last after PM’s letter to Sajith Premadasa he has agreed to support the interim government, but it was too late!
Even at a high price, the scarcity of essential goods was not available. It made protesters come to the streets and protest. The people having to wait in queues for hours for fuel and kerosine oil, plus the rise in the cost of living, made the protesters continue their struggle for over a month.
According to the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL), a gang of goons attended a meeting at Temple Trees in support of Mahinda Rajapaksa on 9 May 2020. After the gathering, they marched carrying poles and clubs to attack protestors mercilessly and destroy anti-government posters opposite Temple Trees. The Angry protestors began to set on fire on prominent government Minister’s luxury houses and ruling party members’ homes. SLFP member of Parliament for Nittambuwa Amara Keerthi Athukorale and his driver got killed during the riot.
Today newspapers (19 May) report that Dr. Pathirana dropped a bombshell in Parliament on 18 May claiming that “the Sri Lanka police did not prevent protests on 9 May on the instructions of Public Security Ministry Secretary Jagath Alwis and IGP Chandana Wickramaratne”. When informed the President, Pathirana added that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa phoned SDIG Tennakoon “to prevent the attack.” But SDIG had informed the President that “IGP Wickramaratna had instructed the Police not to prevent the attacks.” Irate President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had retorted, “ I am the President, I order you to stop this. It was after that the Police used force to disperse the attackers. Yesterday, SLPP MPs Sanath Nishantha and Milan Jayatilleke were arrested and produced before the Court in connection with the attacks carried out on peaceful protesters in front of the Temple Trees and the Presidential Secretariat on the 9th of May. They were ordered to be remanded till 25th May 2022 by the Fort Magistrate.
The revolt that followed and scorching were in the same fashion between 1983 and 1987. According to Emeritus Professor at the University of Colombo of Political Science, the ‘ regime sponsored’ events, but both leaders miscalculated and made historical blunders.’
An interesting article appeared in e.lanka.com.au. It states that the” President’s selection of Wickremasinghe is an attempt to end the violence and restore international credibility as the Government negotiates a bailout package with the International Monetary Fund.” Some opposition leaders and religious leaders objected to Wickramasinghe’s appointment, saying ‘ citizens wanted sweeping reforms.’
Meantime, the U. S Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Julie Chung, said she looked forward to working with Wickremesinghe. Wickremesinghe’s quick appointment of a temporary government is the first step to addressing the crisis and promoting stability. “We encourage meaningful progress at the IMF and long-term solutions that meet the needs of all Sri Lankans,” said the newly appointed Prime Minister.”
Sri Lanka is nearly bankrupt and has suspended repayments of $7 billion in foreign loans year. Sri Lanka is debit up to $25 million. The IMF said, “any short- or long-term assistance depends on the outcome of loan restructuring talks with creditors on loan restructuring.”
According to an article published on the Lanka website, one ‘Chinthana Dharmadasa’, copied from Aruna Newspaper . The writer suggests logging into www.lankaweb.com and reading Sinhala full report on 12 May 2022, which is in part as follows:
” At this very moment, Sri Lanka is in a dire need to find sufficient dollars to pay for coal, gas, fuel, and other essentials such as milk and food. People are standing in long queues mainly due to a thriving black-market mafia and scarcity of dollars. Chinthana Dharmadasa assures that he “ does not ‘ worship Ranil Wickremesinghe nor Wickremasinghe is Dharmadasa’s favourite politician. “ Ranil has a problem understanding politics. I always criticise his weak points. When I met with him last time’ , he said, “ people don’t have Electricity, Gas, Medicine and Fuel. Such problems need solving soon.”
Dharmadasa said, ” He supported the struggle in a positive sense. Regarding the liberal economy, I value his character. Indeed, Ranil will not arrest the Rajapaksa family because it is not his style to send his opponents to jail to be observed by the international community that is not his style of governance. It is the style of the JVP to investigate and punish political enemies. Such ‘thugs’ (JVP) will not introduce a sensible message to society.”
“Through the ‘ aragalaya,’ JVP chased Sajith Premadasa away and became the organiser of the struggle. I do not favour ‘Gota ‘go home’ at all, but the problem is that JVP does not have any feelings for those who suffer immensely.”
“Everyone protests and struggles to gain what we have lost, but some people like to continue their struggle forever. We want to go home after protesting our demands. Some people like to continue their battle until they form a communist society. Maybe that is their right! At this moment, what is essential is to create a government. It is not important who comes to save the country from this commotion, and I respect whoever, whether Ranil, Anura or Sajith comes forward. So far, what was displayed is foolishness. JVP is entirely behind this struggle. If they deny it, one needs to be proven” Dharmadasa says.
After assuming duties on 13 May, the prime minister had preliminary discussions with foreign envoys and discussed forming a Foreign Aid Consortium to extend financial assistance to Sri Lanka. Both Indian and Japanese Envoys discussed measures to gather support from other foreign nations in this connection. Japanese Ambassador Mizukoshi Hideaki left for Tokyo on 14 May to brief the Japanese Government on Sri Lanka.
The next step would be to present a list of Wickremasinghe’s names to the President for appointment as Cabinet Ministers, a power vested in the President by the Constitution. Meanwhile, the PM gave an elaborate speech on TV explaining what the country faces at present.
picture credit: Google