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Sri Lanka Today – by Dr Harold Gunatillake


Harold-Gunethilake

 

Transcript:
Sri Lanka was crippled by a strike by trade unions demanding the resignation of the Rajapaksa government

The trade unions in Sri Lanka on Friday launched a crippling island-wide strike to demand the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his government over its inability to tackle the economic meltdown which has caused unprecedented hardships to the public. Sri Lanka’s government has been facing a wave of protests around the country with an increasingly furious public demanding its resignation.

All trade unions of health, postal, port and other government services have joined the .. strike. However, several pro-ruling party trade unions have declined to join.

Businesses remained shut and roads appeared empty in most usually crowded areas. “Today’s one day action is to tell the president that he should step down along with the government. If our pleas are not heeded we will go into continuous strike action from May 11 until the government resigned. This was reported in the Economic Times News

Gota’s public ratings drop to minus80- Poll According to the Institute for Health Policy’s (IHP) Sri Lanka Opinion Tracker Survey (SLOTS) poll showed that local public rating of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has dropped to minus
80 compared to +50 in 2021.“The current economic crisis is resulting in widespread public disapproval of all politicians. Public dislike of politicians in both government and opposition has fallen to its lowest levels in the IHP SLOTS opinion survey. Worst affected is the President whose personal favourability ratings have slumped from a high +50 during the August-September 2021 lockdown to -80 in April 2022. In contrast, Premadasa’s favourability ratings were often negative. But in the last two months, this has changed. The President’s favorability ratings have cratered,” the local survey points out.

Sri Lanka’s main opposition party on Tuesday issued a no-confidence declaration aiming at ousting Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and his Cabinet and blaming them for failing in their constitutional duty to provide a decent living standard amid the island nation’s worst economic crisis in memory.

A group from United People’s Force party, led by leader Sajith Premadasa, delivered the motion demanding the no-confident parliamentary vote to Parliament Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena.

A majority vote in the 225-member Parliament would be needed to remove Rajapaksa and the Cabinet from power. The United People’s Force can only count on 54 votes but hopes to win votes from smaller opposition parties and defections from the ruling Sri Lanka People’s Front party. The ruling party had nearly 150 votes but that strength has declined amid the economic crisis and defections in a no-confidence vote are possible.

A decision on when to hold the no-confidence vote is expected to happen after members of Parliament start meeting on 5th.

The United People’s Force also delivered a no-confidence motion targeting the president, but it would not force him to leave office even a majority of lawmakers vote against him.

Capt Elmo in Blue Skies recently wrote: They arrive in their SUVs, Mercs and BMWs and enter the power pavilion in Kotte full of pomp and pageantry to take their chosen seats. The lambasting starts there, a shameless and aimless shouting match at each other throwing bag loads of insults. The leadership looks more like spoilt little children fighting for ‘seenibola’ and the speaker (I’d better be careful here) appears more like a substitute teacher in an unruly classroom. They vote as they are told to vote and oppose as they are forced to oppose, controlled by a special breed
of puppeteer godfathers to whom they owe their seats.

Sri Lanka PM Mahinda Rajapaksa Unfazed Despite No-Confidence Motion Against Him, Gotabaya Sri Lankan prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa expressed confidence that he would emerge victorious in the no-confidence motion tabled against him on Wednesday while speaking to Sri Lankan news agency Daily Mirror, said that he held the majority support in Sri Lankan parliament.

Earlier on Tuesday, the main opposition party Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), met Sri Lankan assembly speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena and handed him the no-confidence motion against prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and president Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Rajapaksa also said that the no-confidence motion will not hinder his efforts to resolve the ongoing economic crisis that protesters and Sri Lankans claim have been caused due to economic
mismanagement under the rule of the Rajapaksas. He said that his solutions appeal to the majority of the MPs who have assured him of their support.

“I am very confident of winning the NCM. I have the numbers with me in Parliament. If I lose the numbers, I will step down,” Rajapaksa was quoted as saying by the news agency Daily Mirror. He also refuted reports of him stepping down and said that he will not tender his resignation. On Tuesday, some reports surfaced that Mahinda lost the majority support and was due to resign after releasing a special statement.

People familiar with the developments told Daily Mirror that the no-confidence motion against the president Gotabaya Rajapaksa will be tabled in the parliament first and the opposition is presently gathering support to ensure that it passes.

Hope this latest brief development news is helpful. Stay safe and goodbye for now.

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