Colombo, Pretr. Sri Lanka’s main opposition Samagi Jana Balvegaya (SJB) said on Sunday that it has rejected President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s offer to lead an interim government to its leader Sajith Premadasa. Meanwhile, former Prime Minister and United National Party (UNP) leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said that the entire system needs to be changed with the help of youth. Emergency is currently in force in the country.

“Our leader has refused to accept the president’s proposal,” SJB national convener Tissa Atnayke told reporters. Rajapaksa had called Premdas and SJB economic guru Harsh D’Silva about the possibility of forming an interim government. Powerful Buddhist monks as well as groups that broke away from the ruling coalition led by the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) have supported the demand for the formation of an interim government.

The SJB on Saturday announced that it will support the proposal of lawyers’ body BASL, which seeks to abolish the President’s rule system as well as establish an interim government for a period of 18 months. BASL has sought the reinstatement of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which gave more powers to the Parliament than to the President. 19A, implemented in the year 2015, had reduced the powers of the President by empowering the Parliament. However, 19A was abolished following the victory of Gotabaya Rajapaksa in the November 2019 presidential election.

Meanwhile, former President Maithripala Sirisena also met Premdas and asked the SJB to take over the interim government. Premdas, 55, has already announced that he will not be part of the governments of President Gotabaya and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Holidays of security forces canceled, appeal to people for help

According to the Daily Mirror newspaper report, the Defense Ministry announced on Saturday that the leave of security forces has been canceled due to the imposition of emergency in the country. All the soldiers have been ordered to return to duty with immediate effect. The ministry has issued a statement appealing to the people to help in improving the country’s economic situation and turbulent environment.

100 million dollar help sought from China-backed bank

According to Reuters, Sri Lanka’s finance ministry said talks were underway to secure a $100 million emergency fund from the China-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. In a statement, the ministry said foreign exchange assistance has been sought from the bank.

Edited By: Dhyanendra Singh Chauhan