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Sri Lanka's Opposition leader Premadasa calls for abolishing Executive Presidential system

Updated on: 05 April,2022 05:43 PM IST  |  Colombo
ANI |

"For nearly 20 years every leader promised to abolish the Executive Presidency but only strengthened it," Premadasa said in a strongly-worded speech in parliament on Tuesday reminding the Parliamentarians about the necessity to introduce a new electoral system

Sri Lanka's Opposition leader Premadasa calls for abolishing Executive Presidential system

Sri Lankans protest demanding president Gotabaya Rajapaksa resign in Colombo. Pic/PTI

Amid the unprecedented economic crisis in Sri Lanka, the leader of the Opposition, Sajith Premadasa has called for abolishing the Executive Presidential system.


"For nearly 20 years every leader promised to abolish the Executive Presidency but only strengthened it," Premadasa said in a strongly-worded speech in parliament on Tuesday reminding the Parliamentarians about the necessity to introduce a new electoral system.


Sri Lanka must abolish the all-powerful executive presidency and strengthen Parliament without paving the way to a similarly dictatorial premiership while ensuring adequate checks and balances, opposition leader Sajith Premadasa said.


It is pertinent to mention that since the introduction of the presidential system in 1978, every election which ensued was fought on the promise to abolish the presidency. However, once elected all presidents chose to ignore the election promise.

But as the nationwide protests gripped the island nation due to the severe economic crisis, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Saturday imposed a State of emergency.

Reiterating his demand, he said, "but this time it's different, it seems the people of Sri Lanka will make sure that it gets done."

Earlier, he said that the country is calling for wholesale change. "It's a melodrama that is being enacted to dupe the people of our country. It's not a genuine effort towards bringing some sort of relief to the people of our country. It's an exercise in fooling the people," Premadasa said.

"Whole country is calling for wholesale change. What we ask for is a pathbreaking wholesale change that brings about relief to the country, not relief to politicians, not a game of musical chairs where politicians exchange their position," he added.

Meanwhile, newly-appointed Finance Minister Ali Sabry has resigned on Tuesday.

In a letter to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, he wrote, "After much reflection and deliberation and taking into consideration the current situation I am now of the view, for your Excellency to make suitable interim arrangement to navigate this unprecedented crisis."

He said that when he resigned as Minister of Justice on April 3, it was not his intention to take up any post thereafter.

Sabry along with three others was appointed by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Monday.

Ali Sabry was sworn in as the Minister of Finance; Dinesh Gunawardena was sworn in as the Minister of Education; Prof GL Peiris was sworn in as the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Johnston Fernando was sworn in as the Minister of Highways.

He said that he joined as Finance Minister to maintain parliamentary democracy and the stability of the system. He said he became a minister after the requests made by the business community.

Sri Lanka is battling a severe economic crisis with food and fuel scarcity affecting a large number of the people in the island nation. The economy has been in a free-fall since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sri Lanka is also facing a foreign exchange shortage, which has, incidentally, affected its capacity to import food and fuel, leading to the power cuts in the country. The shortage of essential goods forced Sri Lanka to seek assistance from friendly countries.

On Sunday, 26-member Sri Lankan Cabinet Ministers submitted resignations amid rising public anger against the government over the economic crisis.

Meanwhile, the 36-hour long curfew that was imposed on Sri Lanka on Saturday evening at 6 pm was lifted on Monday morning at 6 am but the country is still under a state of emergency.

Earlier on Saturday, India delivered 40,000 MT of diesel to Sri Lanka to help ease the power crisis in the island country. As part of the US 500 million oil line of credit (LoC) extended by India to Sri Lanka, this was the fourth consignment of fuel delivered to Colombo.

Further, India has supplied around 200,000 MT of fuel to the island nation over the last 50 days.

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