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Sri Lankan government initiates talks to form ‘All-party’ government

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Ranil Wickremesinghe
Image: Agencies

The Sri Lankan government has initiated a negotiation with opposition parties on Thursday in an attempt to form an ‘all-party’ government in the crisis-hit country.

Newly elected President Ranil Wickremesinghe has begun a conversation with the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the talks are expected to complete in one week, the Daily Mirror reported citing the sources.

However, the main opposition party Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) will not join the government. However, some of its MPs are contemplating joining the ruling side individually.

The National Freedom Front (NFF) led by MP Wimal Weerawansa also sent a positive signal to the president yesterday, pledging support to him.

MP Weerawansa said in writing the country is left with only two options, one to lead it down the path of an anarchical situation as in Haiti or to salvage it from the current mess at least at the last moment through consensus, reported Daily Mirror.

He said the president had taken genuine steps to resurrect the country from the present abyss and therefore his party was ready to guide that exercise regardless of past political differences or enmity.

The NFF submitted proposals for the president in this regard. The NFF supported MP Dullas Alahapperuma in the ballot for the selection of the president on July 20.

Nevertheless, the party took a different stand when it voted for the emergency regulations on July 27 in Parliament. The National Freedom Front had handed over a 12-point proposal to President Ranil Wickremesinghe.

In his proposal, Weerawansa outlined the important facts that have been proposed by his party to rebuild the nation.

He further calls for the establishment of an all-party government to address the various issues in the country, according to News Wire.

Wickremesinghe was elected to be the president of the South Asian country in a parliamentary vote on July 20 and was sworn in a day after. He was elected as the new Sri Lankan President after 73-year-old Gotabaya Rajapaksa had gone into hiding after crowds of protesters stormed his residence on July 9.

For the record, Sri Lanka has experienced an escalating economic crisis and the government has defaulted on its foreign loans. The United Nations warned that 5.7 million people “require immediate humanitarian assistance.” With many Sri Lankans experiencing extreme shortages of essentials including food and fuel, peaceful protests began in March.

The protests led then-Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa to resign on May 9, and his brother, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, to flee the country on July 13 and resign the following day.

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