Sri Lankan PM Mahinda Rajapaksa dismisses calls for forming interim government

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on Saturday dismissed calls by protesters to form an interim government to tackle the unprecedented economic crisis in the country, saying such political formations have no use “when people with varying policies can’t see eye to eye?”.

Thousands of demonstrators have hit the streets since April 9, as the government ran out of money for vital imports; prices of essential commodities have skyrocketed and there are acute shortages in fuel, medicines and electricity supply.

Speaking to Radio station ‘Neth FM’, the prime minister said: “What’s the use of interim governments when people with varying policies can’t see eye to eye? There has to be accord which is not possible. If there is a need for an interim government it should happen only under my leadership.”

Anti-government protesters in Sri Lanka are demanding the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Prime Minister Mahinda as they blame government policies for the forex crisis.

Commenting on the economic crisis, Rajapaksa said: “People need to show patience to face it (the economic crisis). They can keep on protesting if they don’t want to have talks.”

The prime minister said he wasn’t aware personally of anyone calling for his stepping down. “Even if there are demands for my resignation, it would not be from the majority, it will be from a minority group who wouldn’t know the political history of the country,” he said.

A group of over 40 Parliamentarians from the ruling coalition have declared independence, urging the formation of an interim government comprising all political parties.

Meanwhile, India has agreed to extend an additional $500 million credit line to help Sri Lanka import fuel.

India has already agreed to defer $1.5 billion in import payments that Sri Lanka needs to make to the Asian Clearing Union.

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