Efforts are underway to form a government in Sri Lanka to get an IMF bailout

Negotiations are underway to form a government in Sri Lanka as any delay in forming a government in Colombo would delay the IMF’s required bailout.

The ET has learned that it is in talks to form the next government with the IMF. Colombo-based sources told ET that further delays in forming a government would delay the IMF bailout, which could plunge the country into a major crisis.

At present, the president’s efforts to rule with his advisers are not working, sources said. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has said he is in talks with other political parties to form a unity government. But the main opposition party has insisted that unless the president resigns, it will not be part of the interim administration, which Gotabaya Rajapaksa has refused to do.

At present, it is not clear which political parties can unite to form a national unity government. An increase in emergency powers by more than a fortnight requires parliamentary approval, but the government may not have a majority on the floor of the House.

Meanwhile, the main opposition leader Sajith Premadasa has met with the governor of the Sri Lankan central bank over the crisis. India fears that any delay in the IMF bailout could push Sri Lanka into an unprecedented crisis.

Lanka is on the verge of bankruptcy. However, an advance election is not possible because the treasury cannot sponsor the election at this stage, ET has learned.

Meanwhile, Sri Lankan security forces have been effective across the island nation, ordering the firing of looters amid ongoing government-led protests in the face of a devastating economic crisis. The fire broke out on Tuesday night despite a nationwide curfew.

Shops near Colombo have been set on fire, as well as a resort owned by the son of former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa. Mahinda is reported to have taken refuge in a naval base at Rajapaksa. At least nine people have been killed and 200 injured in unrest since Monday.

Opposition politicians have accused the military of using violence as an excuse to seize power. However, the military has denied any involvement in the plot.

“When a dangerous situation arises in the country, the army is empowered to deal with it,” Defense Secretary Kamal Gunaratne told a news conference. “Never think that we are trying to seize power. The military has no such intention.”

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