Anti-government campaign continues in Sri Lanka despite appointment of a new prime minister

Edited By: Vyomica Berry
Colombo, Sri Lanka Updated: May 14, 2022, 11:07 AM(IST)

People sit on empty Liquified Gas Cylinders (LPG) as they block a road to protest against the shortage of fuel and cooking gas in Colombo Photograph:( AFP )

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Sri Lanka's opposition party has signalled it was not likely to resolve the political and economic disarray in the strategic Indian Ocean island nation

The anti-government campaign continues in Sri Lanka, with protesters asking beleaguered President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to take accountability for his actions and resign.

Sri Lanka's opposition party has signalled it was not likely to resolve the political and economic disarray in the strategic Indian Ocean island nation.

It comes after Rajapaksa appointed five-time prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to his sixth term.

Previously, Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is the elder brother of Gotabaya, quit as prime minister after violence spiralled between police and government supporters across the country and left nine people dead along with more than 300 wounded.

Eran Wickramaratne, a parliamentarian and senior member of the main opposition party, the Samagi Jana Balawegaya, said "It is clear the (new) prime minister is remote-controlled by the president."

"This country wants the Rajapaksas to go home. We are committed to that goal," he added.

Meanwhile, Wickremesinghe, who was the only legislator from his United National Party (UNP) which was routed at the August 2020 election that gave Rajapaksa a two-thirds majority, said that the "Gota Go Home" protest should continue.

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After holding an emergency meeting with officials to combat fuel shortage, the 73-year-old held talks with foreign envoys representing India, Japan, the United States, and China to improve ties.

Indian High Commission in Colombo said in a tweet, "Discussed continued cooperation for economic recovery and stability in Sri Lanka through democratic processes."

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Sri Lanka, which has a population of 22 million, is currently facing its worst economic crisis since its independence from Britain.

The country has defaulted on all of its foreign debt and is in talks with the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank for a bailout package.

(With inputs from agencies)

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