ruling coalition. The three parties have proposed forming an interim government with a new prime minister replacing Mahinda Rajapaksa, the older brother of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
The island nation is facing an economic crisis and lacks electricity, fuel, food and medicine due to a lack of foreign currency for imports. Sri Lanka has approached the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and countries like India and China for urgent financial assistance.
In a televised address on Monday, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa appealed to protesters camping outside the president’s office for the third consecutive day: “The president and I are spending every moment formulating solutions to get Sri Lanka out of the current crisis. “.
President Rajapaksa dissolved his cabinet last week and called for a unity government to help tackle the crisis, as 41 lawmakers left the ruling coalition to become independents in the 225-seat parliament. The government, however, declared that it retained a majority in the chamber.
Three parties represented by 16 of the lawmakers told reporters they had met with the president and prime minister and that further talks were scheduled for Tuesday.
“The main proposal is to have a multi-party committee to take key decisions and the appointment of a new prime minister and a select cabinet,” said Udaya Gammanpila, leader of the Jathika Hela Urumaya party.
“We want this before another election,” he said, adding “We need to reverse the shortages and stabilize the economy.”
The next parliamentary elections in Sri Lanka are not scheduled before 2025.
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