The troubled Sri Lankan president on Tuesday stepped in to condemn a resolution when his broken coalition rallied to delay a resolution blaming him for the country’s worst economic crisis.
Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s shaky coalition has voted against adopting an unprecedented “Parliamentary Dissatisfaction” resolution.
The non-binding proposal, proposed by the main opposition Tamil party, the Tamil National Alliance, said it echoed the demands of thousands of anti-government protesters who had been demanding Rajapaksa’s resignation for weeks.
In the worst financial crisis since independence from Britain in 1948, food, energy and medicine shortages, including record inflation and prolonged blackouts, have brought severe hardship to Sri Lankans.
Mahinda, the president’s elder brother, resigned as prime minister last week and, to quell growing anger, hired anti-Gotabaya opposition politician Ronil Wickremesinghe to replace him.
Bikram Singh has won significant support from the two main opposition parties for forming a “unity government” to bring the country out of the dire economic crisis, but has yet to form a full cabinet on Monday afternoon.
He was expected to announce the name of the new cabinet later, but political sources said portfolio sharing was still under discussion.
In a speech to the nation on Monday, Bikram Singh said the country had run out of petrol and “the next few months will be the most difficult month of our lives”.
Most of the petrol stations in the capital were open on Tuesday and closed with long lines outside a few.
Vikram Singh said the dollar had run out to finance the necessary imports to Sri Lanka, and three oil tankers were waiting to be paid before unloading from Colombo.
The country was out of 14 essential drugs, including the anti-rabies vaccine, the prime minister said, adding that drug suppliers had not been paid for nearly four months.
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and was published from a syndicated feed.)