Sri Lanka's opposition leaders ask PM Wickremesinghe to quit ahead of President's resignation

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP M. A. Sumanthiran said on Wednesday that the decision was taken at an all party meeting which was attended by leaders excluding those from the Government, News 1st channel reported.

PTIUpdated: Wednesday, July 13, 2022, 09:03 PM IST
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TOPSHOT - Demonstrators wave Sri Lankan flags from a balcony inside the office building of Sri Lankas prime minister during an anti-government protest in Colombo on July 13, 2022. - Thousands of anti-government protesters stormed into Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghes office on July 13, hours after he was named as acting president, witnesses said. | (Photo by Arun SANKAR / AFP

Sri Lanka's opposition leaders have asked Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to quit ahead of the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa who has promised to step down on Wednesday, according to a media report.

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP M. A. Sumanthiran said on Wednesday that the decision was taken at an all party meeting which was attended by leaders excluding those from the Government, News 1st channel reported.

He said two unanimous decisions were taken at the meeting, and one was for Wickremesinghe to resign immediately, while the other was for the speaker to sack the Prime Minister before the President's resignation takes effect, the channel reported.

Meanwhile, Chief Opposition Whip Lakshman Kiriella from the Samagi Jana Balavegaya said the Commanders of the three-armed forces were also present at the meeting.

"The Prime Minister was avoiding the party leaders," he said.

The Commanders informed that the protesters were near the gates of parliament, and wanted permission to repel them by using force, he said.

"We said we cannot agree to such a request," he said, adding that at the last party leaders meeting the call was for the President and the Prime Minister to resign.

The leaders have asked the speaker to sack Wickremesinghe to take up the post of Acting President, and thereafter Parliament is prepared to work with him.

President Rajapaksa on Wednesday fled to the Maldives from where he appointed Prime Minister Wickremesinghe as the acting President, escalating the political crisis and triggering a fresh wave of protests in the country reeling under the worst financial crisis in decades.

Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena has said that President Rajapaksa has informed him over telephone that he will resign today as promised. He said the vote for the new president will take place on July 20.

Wickremesinghe, who is now acting President, has declared a state of emergency in the country and a curfew in the Western province has been imposed as protesters gathered near his office at Flower Road in Colombo.

Sri Lanka, a country of 22 million people, is under the grip of an unprecedented economic turmoil, the worst in seven decades, leaving millions struggling to buy food, medicine, fuel and other essentials. Prime Minister Wickremesinghe last week said Sri Lanka is now a bankrupt country.

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