Sri Lanka President says proposals set forth by parties to form all-party Government will be shared with stakeholders

Ranil Wickremesinghe - President of Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s President Ranil Wickremesinghe. (BLOOMBERG / Buddhika Weerasinghe)

Sri Lanka President Ranil Wickremesinghe said on Saturday that the proposals put forward by political parties during the crucial talks held to form an all-party government in Sri Lanka will be made available to all stakeholders by Monday.

Sri Lanka’s newly-elected President Wickremesinghe on Wednesday invited the political parties to form an all-party government to overcome the current economic crisis as Parliament reconvened after a seven-day adjournment.

Main opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) legislator Harsha de Silva told reporters on Friday that the 90-minute meeting ended on a positive note and all stakeholders agreed to meet again on Tuesday to “clearly define” the all-party governance concept.

Wickremesinghe said more talks will be held next week, including with the parties that have expressed opposition to an all-party government.

The main opposition SJB said on Friday that they will not be joining an all-party government but will extend support to the government from outside on common issues.

The ruling SLPP breakaway lawmakers have also declared that they will not share positions in the government.

Wickremesinghe told the parties to join in an all-party administration if an all-party government is not acceptable to them.

“The economy is in a very bad shape. I invite everyone to join in the effort by becoming ministers,” he said.

Former president Maithripala Sirisena said that parties were divided on the issue of forming an all-party government and asserted that the process must be completed with minimum delay.

The proposal for an all-party government was mooted in early April amidst widespread public unrest over the previous government led by former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s mishandling of the economic crisis.

Rajapaksa’s call to form an all-party government was ignored by the opposition parties.

Wickremesinghe has received a congratulatory message from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, saying his leadership was important to bringing stability in the crisis-hit country, according to the president’s office.

Wickremesinghe, the leader of the United National Party (UNP), was elected president by lawmakers on July 20 – the first such occasion since 1978. The 73-year-old president was appointed for the rest of the term of Rajapaksa who fled the country in the face of a popular uprising against his government for mismanaging the island nation’s economy.

The majority of his support in the 225-member Parliament came from Rajapaksa’s Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) party.