There is no need to state the obvious. But sometimes it has to be stated at least as a reminder to those who govern as well as to other stakeholders. The country is in a deep economic crisis with the ‘sovereign people ‘ bearing the brunt of the difficulties in the form of runaway inflation, [...]


Back to square one as country struggles to face grave economic crisis


There is no need to state the obvious. But sometimes it has to be stated at least as a reminder to those who govern as well as to other stakeholders.

The country is in a deep economic crisis with the ‘sovereign people ‘ bearing the brunt of the difficulties in the form of runaway inflation, shortage of food and medicines, shortage of gas, fuel and other essentials plus crippling electricity cuts.

Knowing the crisis and realisation of its implications is the first step in the search for remedial action. But judging by the goings on in the past few days, the Government does not seem to realise the gravity of the situation or if it does, it is indifferent to the need to take corrective action.  

In the past few weeks concerned citizens, political parties and independent analysts have discussed and put forward several options in order to break the stalemate that has virtually paralysed the country.

However the Government has shown no sign of urgency and continued its obstinate and indifferent ways when faced with this national crisis.

Initially President Gotabaya Rajapaksa claimed that he did not create the crisis that the country was faced with. Subsequently he and the Government were compelled to confess that the decision to remove taxes which generated large revenue for the Treasury, delaying going to the IMF for nearly two years, and the decision to ban chemical fertiliser were mistakes.

Though the Government admitted these ‘mistakes’ lightly it has brought misery to the people, particularly the poor and marginalised. These ‘mistakes’ alone would have been sufficient reason for any self respecting Government to step down. However there are no signs of realisation dawning on the Government and it keeps going on in its insensitive way.

On Friday President Gotabaya Rajapaksa met with the 11 Constituent parties of the Government who have announced that they will function as an independent group in Parliament.

After the meeting the Leader of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), Maithripala Sirisena told journalists that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had agreed to form an interim government.

The former President said, that the interim government would be the first step towards holding elections.“

“The President consented to form an Interim Cabinet of Ministers led by a new Prime Minister,” Sirisena said.

The Interim Cabinet would be limited to 15 or 20 Ministers. Sirisena said that the President agreed to establish a National Council that would decide on the Prime Minister, Cabinet of Ministers, Inspector General of Police, Attorney General, and even the Ministry Secretaries.

Clearly there had not even been a discussion on the Constitutional Amendment prepared by Parliamentarian Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, which proposed, among other things, the setting up of the Constitutional Council and independent Commissions.

However a media release issued by the Presidential Media Division (PMD) did not specify agreement to form a National Council but only that “attention was drawn to the need to form a National Consensus Government to continue the activities of the government and to appoint a National Council with the participation of the leaders of the political parties represented in Parliament as its initial step.”

The Presidential Media Division release also attributed to the President his agreement to the points contained in the common proposal presented by the 11 party representatives (only) if all political parties supported it.

There was no reference in either the SLFP Leader’s comments or in the PMD media release to any move to repeal the 20th Amendment and revive the 19th Amendment. The two versions of the Friday meeting are clearly predicated on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa remaining in office with all the powers of the 20th Amendment.

What baffles political observers is the completele volte face of some of the members of the independent group of 40. In the days after he was dismissed from the Cabinet, Wimal Weerawansa vowed that he would not be part of any Government in which a Rajapakse was a member.

When President Gotabaya Rajapakse appointed SLFPer Shantha Bandara as a State Minister behind their backs shortly after engaging in talks with the independent group, Wimal Weerawansa announced that they would hold any further talks with the President only if he removed Shantha Bandara from his post.

Not only did the President not remove Shantha Bandara from his Ministerial post, he poached another SLFPer Dr. Suren Ragavan and appointed him also a State Minister.

Despite all this the independent group swallowed their own words and went for talks with the President on Friday. If the PMD media release (which can be construed as the official version of what took place) is anything to go by nothing significant has emerged from the talks.

The SLFP, it seems, has not learnt from its dealings with the President and the SLPP in the past two and a half years. After entering into agreements prior to the presidential election with the President and ensuring a substantial number of votes towards his victory, the SLFP and its supporters have been repeatedly let down and even humiliated.

The only clear takeaway from the Government’s actions and attitudes is that the people’s sufferings are subordinate to their urge to stay in office at all costs.

Even the fact that they are content to have a part time Finance Minister (sharing his time with the Justice Ministry) is a clear indication of the priority that it accords the economic crisis in the country.

The refusal of the Samagi Jana Balavegaya and the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna not to consider any interim arrangement, unless President Gotabaya Rajapaksa steps down is increasingly making sense.

It also is in sync with the protests in Galle Face and calls in various parts of the country that the President must step down.

This column has argued that general elections are not an option at this point of time due to the ground situation as well as lack of financial resources. However the Government is dragging its feet and having as its only priority staying in power leaves the country with few options.

A political solution to the national crisis through general elections may well be the only way out.



Share This Post


Buying or selling electronics has never been easier with the help of! We, at, hear your needs and endeavour to provide you with the perfect listings of electronics; because we have listings for nearly anything! Search for your favourite electronic items for sale on today!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked.
Comments should be within 80 words. *


Post Comment

Advertising Rates

Please contact the advertising office on 011 - 2479521 for the advertising rates.