Sri Lanka: UNSG Antonio Guterres Calls for a Smooth Transition of Government.
By: Ahmed Fathi
Sri Lanka's parliament will pick a new president on July 20, its speaker said Monday, after protestors stormed the president and prime minister's homes. Both have offered to resign amid an economic disaster.
Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who crushed the Tamil Tigers as defense secretary, will quit Wednesday. His brothers and nephew quit as ministers as Sri Lanka ran out of petrol, food, and other needs.
Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena said parliament will return on Friday and pick a new president five days later.
"Party leaders agreed today that this was necessary to form a new all-party government in conformity with the Constitution," the statement said.
"The ruling party says the PM and Cabinet are ready to quit for an all-party government"
Ranil Wickremesinghe, whose residence was burned, will resign. His office stated Rajapaksa told the prime minister about his resignation plans and that the cabinet will quit once an all-party administration was formed.
Political instability might harm IMF rescue package negotiations, the central bank governor said. more...
Governor P. Nandalal Weerasinghe indicated in May he could retire if the 22-million-person island nation lacked political stability.
Protest leaders said mobs will occupy the president and prime minister's Colombo homes until they resign. At the president's house, demonstrators jumped in the pool, lounged on a four-poster bed, and used the treadmill and armchairs. more...
Monday in Colombo, hundreds of visitors inspected the president's secretariat and mansion. Police did nothing.
Jude Hansana, 31, has been protesting outside the property since early April.
Dushantha Gunasinghe walked 80 km to Colombo because of a fuel shortage.
The 28-year-old remarked, "I'm so exhausted I can barely speak" "I came alone because we must finish. We need better leaders and a new administration."
Colombo's economic turmoil reveals renewable energy inadequacies.
Sri Lanka's President Gotabaya Rajapaksa delivers his national statement at COP26 in Glasgow.
Colombo demonstrators enter the Presidential Secretariat and President's House after Rajapaksa fled.
On Saturday, protesters uncovered 17.8 million rupees (approximately $50,000) at the president's mansion. A video of the kids counting money went viral.
Antonio Guterres advocated for a seamless government transition and "sustainable" economic policies.
Opposition leader Sajith Premadasa's Samagi Jana Balawegaya party holds 54 seats in the 225-member parliament.
"We're ready to stabilize the country and reconstruct the economy," he declared. "We'll appoint a president, PM, and government."
Rajapaksa and Wickremesinghe weren't in their homes when protestors stormed them and haven't been seen since Friday. Rajapaksa's whereabouts are unknown, although Wickremesinghe's staff stated he met with cabinet ministers on Monday.
Wickremesinghe's residence in a Colombo neighborhood was burned on Saturday. Three suspects have been apprehended.
Constitutional scholars predict that once the president and prime minister quit, the speaker will become acting president until parliament elects a new president to finish Rajapaksa's term in 2024.
Sri Lankans blame Rajapaksa for the collapse of the tourism-dependent economy, which was hit by COVID-19 and a ban on chemical fertilizers. Reversing the prohibition
The Rajapaksa regime's debt and tax exemptions damaged government finances. Oil prices pushed down foreign exchange reserves.
Long lineups have formed in front of shops selling cooking gas since the country can barely import gasoline. The central bank warns that headline inflation could exceed 70% in the coming months.
Political turmoil pushed previously defaulted government bonds to new lows. The 2025 bond sank to 2.25 cents on the dollar, while most were under 30 cents, or 70% below face value.
Lutz Roehmeyer of Capitulum Asset Management, which holds Sri Lanka dollar bonds, said an IMF deal could materialize this year or next, but investors won't see a restructuring until 2024 or 2025.
Roehmeyer: "It's anarchy." "The power transition is expected to be more turbulent and take longer"