Sri Lanka: TNA to support Opposition in ousting President Rajapaksa

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s main Tamil party, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), on Sunday said that it is ready to support the Opposition in moving a no-confidence motion against the government of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and is prepared to impeach the embattled leader.
Sri Lanka’s main Opposition party, the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) on Friday announced that it will move a no-confidence motion against the government of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa as it has failed to take steps to address the concerns of the public facing hardships because of the economic crisis.
Opposition leader Sajith Premadasa also called for the Executive Presidency to be abolished, saying power should be divided between the executive, legislature and judiciary.
“We will be compelled to support the main Opposition party’s moves to bring in a vote of no confidence and an impeachment against the President. The government must understand the public demand for the Rajapaksa family to quit,” TNA spokesperson MA Sumanthiran said.
The TNA delegation had met President Rajapaksa last month and asked him to keep the basics of the 13th Amendment intact and come up with a political solution that would give them more power through a new constitution.
The TNA wants full devolution under the 13th Amendment as the central governments have over the years shown reluctance to meet the demand for police and land powers to the provinces.
The 13th Amendment provides for devolution of power to the Tamil community. India has been pressing Sri Lanka to implement the 13th Amendment which was brought in after the Indo-Sri Lankan agreement of 1987.
SJB has said that they have begun the process to initiate the no-confidence motion against the government, Ranjith Maddumma Bandara, the SJB General Secretary said.
The SJB and TNA combined have 64 seats in the 225-member assembly. The Rajapaksa government, which has more than 150 seats with allies, lost 42 members, when they declared independence from the SLPP-ruling coalition.
The Parliament is not scheduled to meet before April 19.
These political manoeuvrings were taking place amid a massive anti-government street protest demanding the Sri Lankan President’s resignation.
People have been protesting for weeks over lengthy power cuts and shortage of gas, food and other basic goods.
Since Saturday, protesters from all walks of life have marched into Galle Face where Rajapaksa’s secretariat is located.
President Rajapaksa and his elder brother, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, continue to hold power in Sri Lanka, despite their politically powerful family being the focus of public ire.
The President has defended his government’s actions, saying the foreign exchange crisis was not his making and the economic downturn was largely pandemic driven with the island nation’s tourism revenue and inward remittances waning.

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