Thursday, December 1, 2022

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Politics As Usual Approach Is Not Viable

The economic crisis in the country continues to worsen with queues lengthening, prices rising and essentials unavailable. The general expectation after the rise of the Aragalaya protest movement was that a small and interim all-party government would be formed to specifically deal with the economic crisis, stabilize the economy and to conduct fresh elections.  But this has not materialized. Governance is the essential element of the state, and good governance is not merely the exercise of power but the safeguard of the rights of each individual and the welfare of all.

Unfortunately, the appearance at present is of a government that seeks to consolidate itself in power and continue into the longer term.  President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has made an announcement that he seeks to remain in office for the remainder of his term despite the serious mistakes he has made in economic and political decision making for which he has apologized.  The number of ministers is much larger than expected with some 40 cabinet and state ministers and a further 25 district ministers reportedly to be appointed.

Mismanagement of this nature in the private sector would potentially lead to immediate dismissal.  In our public service it could lead to suspension or transfer to a difficult location. The National Peace Council expresses its strong concerns that more than six weeks after the appointment of the new prime minister and ministers there is no economic recovery plan on the table.  There have been visits by an IMF delegation, US Treasury officials and Indian ministry officials with whose goodwill the economic recovery plan that caters to the national interest could be adopted.

The National Peace Council calls on the president to deliver on his pledge to establish an interim all-party consensual government forthwith with a limited time frame. The parliament should not become a battle ground to articulate opposing viewpoints but one that displays cooperation at this time. We call for the passage of the 21st Amendment as an interim measure and the abolition of the presidential system subsequently as the misuse of presidential powers has contributed in substantial measure to the present catastrophe.  This is the message emanating from several Aragalaya protest sites, which have galvanized all communities irrespective of their religious and ethnic backgrounds.

The National Peace Council Sri Lanka

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