Even with his cabinet being sacked, and even with his government on the verge of being thrown out of power, Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has stubbornly refused to quit. He has said that he will hand over power to any new government formed. This means he wants to stay on. However, that stance might not stay for long.
The country’s parliamentary majority coalition, which Rajapaksa heads, is under threat as dissident lawmakers, led by former president Maithripala Sirisena, plans to break away from the government.
Meanwhile, the nationwide protest over the country’s worst economic crisis continues. The crisis has only aggravated with the ruling party almost in denial, even as long queues for fuel, cooking gas, essentials continuing. Even food grains are in short supply.
As the 225-member Parliament convenes today, amid the state of emergency, things could quickly change is the dissidents, led by former president Sirisena’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), leaves the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) coalition with its 14 Members of Parliament.
The coalition, which commanded 157 votes out of 225 at the last vote held on the government budget, is bound to lose between 50-60 members, Udaya Gammanpila, a dissident lawmaker told reporters on Monday. As a result, the government would not only be denied its two-thirds but even the simple majority of 113 members, he said.