Colombo: The crucial talks on the possibility of forming an all-party government to tackle Sri Lanka’s economic meltdown will take place on Friday evening, officials and political leaders here said.
Sri Lanka’s newly-elected President Ranil Wickremesinghe on Wednesday invited the political parties to form an all-party government to overcome the current economic crisis as the Parliament reconvened after a seven-day adjournment.
The talks will take place on Friday evening, officials and political leaders said.
“We expect the president to take a new approach, the country will get destroyed if there is no collective action,” former president Maithripala Sirisena told reporters here.
Vasudeva Nanayakkara, a veteran leader from the ruling coalition’s 10-party breakaway group, said they would be looking at Wickremesinghe’s approach closely.
“Wickremesinghe has said that he was formulating a plan to find solutions to the economic and political impasse. He is going to seek our views, let’s hope the talks will be successful,” Nanayakkara said.
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However, the main opposition party Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) said their approach is to form a common all-party program rather than an all-party government.
“We are willing to strengthen the oversight committee system and make our contribution,” SJB national organizer Tissa Attanayake said.
Wickremesinghe, the leader of the United National Party (UNP), was elected president by lawmakers on July 20 – the first such occasion since 1978. The 73-year-old President was appointed for the rest of the term of Gotabaya Rajapaksa who fled the country and resigned on July 13 in the face of a popular uprising against his government for mismanaging the island nation’s economy.
The majority of his support in the 225-member Parliament came from Rajapaksa’s Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) party.
A constitutional amendment has been recently gazetted to make Parliament’s role stronger, while an interim budget to be presented early next month is expected to announce much-needed reforms in the economy.
Sri Lanka has seen months of mass unrest over the worst economic crisis, with the government declaring bankruptcy in mid-April by refusing to honour its international debt.