Amidst Sri Lanka’s ongoing political and economic crisis, Tamil National Alliance MP, MA Sumanthiran, has demanded the dissolution of parliament and for fresh elections.
“Even though there has been a change in the individual who is holding the post of Prime Minister, the Rajapaksas are very much in the governance. They haven’t gone anywhere. They are showing Ranil Wickremesinghe as PM and he is also happy to do so. Unless this situation is changed, the country cannot come out from the economic crisis,” Sumanthiran told reporters yesterday.
Sumanthiran has insisted on the need for both the President and Prime Minister to stand down from their posts. He stressed that the change of the Prime Minister was not the change people wanted. He went on to lambast the policies of the Rajapaksa administration stating:
“Everyone knows that mismanagement of the economy under the previous Government and tax exemptions introduced by President Rajapaksa led to this situation. Even when the President announced the tax cuts before he was elected to office, former Finance Minister late Mangala Samaraweera warned if such tax policies were to be adopted, the country would face tragedy similar to Lebanon and Venezuela. Now we are witnessing this”.
According to the Economist, the Rajapaksa tax cuts led to tax receipts falling by a quarter and the budget deficit rising to 14% of GDP. This resulted in two-thirds of government revenue going towards interest payments.
“People expected a change of easing economic burden on them due to skyrocketing inflation but the situation is going from bad to worse now. As responsible individuals, they should resign and take measures to ensure people are able to access essential goods at a reasonable price,” Sumanthiran stressed.
Sumanthiran also took aim at the proposed 21st amendment noting that still enables the President to hold any number of ministerial posts.
“The proposed draft strengthens presidential powers contrary to what was said about restoring 19A. Why can’t they abolish the Executive Presidency altogether without reducing it at the token level?” he stated.
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