In a series of tweets, the president outlined steps taken to end the current political stalemate following the resignation of his elder brother and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on Monday.
Gotabaya said on Twitter that “steps will be taken to form a new government to keep the country in anarchy and to maintain the status quo.”
“A prime minister who has won a majority in parliament and is able to win the trust of the people will be appointed this week,” he said.
He said the new government would be given the opportunity to present new programs and empower the country to move forward.
In addition, steps will be taken to amend the Constitution to re-enact the content of the 19th Amendment to further empower Parliament.
“The call of various groups for the removal of the executive president will be considered. With the new government and the possibility of stabilizing their country, we will have the opportunity to discuss this and work towards a general consensus,” the president said in another tweet. .
“I humbly ask for the help of the state apparatus to protect the lives of the people and their property. To ensure that the country does not collapse at any time and maintain a steady supply of essentials,” he said. No indication was found that there were any plans.
His tweets came after he gave a late-night televised address to the nation where he refused to resign but promised to appoint a new prime minister and a young cabinet this week that would introduce major constitutional reforms to control his power.
Meanwhile, the Daily Mirror reported that the president had approached Samagi Jana Balaweiga (SJB) MP and Field Marshal Sharath Fonseka to propose the post of prime minister.
Fonseka has categorically denied that he will run for office in a government led by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, saying he would never be part of a Rajapaksa crisis without consulting those protesting on the Gotagama site.
Last month, the main opposition party Samagi Jana Balavegya (SJB) introduced a constitutional amendment bill that would repeal, among other provisions, the existing presidential system of government in the country since 1978 and replace it with a system that strengthens constitutional democracy.
Although the president will be the head of state and commander-in-chief, the president does not have the personal discretion to appoint or dismiss the prime minister as proposed.
The Prime Minister shall be the head of the Council of Ministers and the Ministers shall be appointed by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister.
The amendment seeks to repeal the 19th Amendment to the Constitution in order to curtail the power of the President and to empower Parliament, while trying to repeal the 20th Amendment adopted in 2020.
The 19A adopted in 2015 cuts the power of the president by empowering the 225-member parliament over the acting president.
However, 19A was scrapped after Gotabaya Rajapaksa won the November 2019 presidential election.
The powerful Rajapaksa family held on to power after their landslide victory in the August 2020 general election that allowed them to restore the presidency and amend the constitution to bring close family members to key positions.
Mahinda, a 76-year-old Sri Lankan People’s Party (SLPP) leader known for his brutal military campaign against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) during his presidency from 2005 to 2015, resigned on Monday.
On Wednesday, Defense Secretary General (retd) Kamal Gunaratne said he was being held at the Trincomalee naval base after being removed from his official residence.
Mahinda, a three-time prime minister, saw a fire at his private residence on Monday. He, along with his wife and family, fled his official residence – Temple Tris – and took refuge in the Trincomalee naval base after a series of deadly attacks on his supporters.
A curfew has been imposed across the island nation after the ruling Rajapaksa family’s ancestral home was set on fire, leaving the island nation in the throes of its worst economic crisis.
More than 250 people were injured in the clashes, which left property belonging to ruling party politicians on fire.
Sri Lanka is facing its worst economic crisis since gaining independence from Britain in 1948. The crisis is partly due to a lack of foreign exchange, which means the country cannot afford to import major food and energy, which makes it worse. Deficit and very high prices.
Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets across Sri Lanka since April 9 to demand the resignation of the Rajapaksa brothers.
The powerful Rajapaksa faction has dominated Sri Lankan politics for years. Gotabaya is the last member of the Rajapaksa family and his brother’s resignation as prime minister has done nothing to calm protesters or bring peace to the island nation.
Meanwhile, a nationwide curfew imposed after the violence was lifted for seven hours on Thursday at 7am and will be re-imposed at 2pm, the president’s office announced.
The curfew will remain in force till 8 am on Friday.