ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka independent MP and leader of the Democratic Left Front Vasudeva Nanayakkara said his party cannot support President Ranil Wickremesnghe who is a “caretaker president” that “operates within the International Monetary Fund (IMF) framework.”
Nanayakkara made this remark at a press conference in Colombo on Monday August 15 commenting on President Wickremesinghe’s invitation to all MPs to join an all-party government.
“We cannot support Wickremesinghe who operates within the IMF framework, and because of us, Wickremesinghe cannot help the country either (sp),” he said.
Nanayakkara is one the ‘group of 10’ independent MPs who were previously influential members of the government of ex President Gotabaya Rajapaksa that broke off following apparent disagreements with Rajapaka’s handling of Sri Lanka’s worsening economic crisis. Other prominent members include former ministers Wimal Weerawansa and Udaya Gammanpila.
Nanayakkara claimed once their group comes into an agreement with the independent faction of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) led by Dullas Alahapperuma, the new alliance thus formed will be the opposition in parliament.
“What is now in power is a caretaker government and a caretaker president. I said that at the start. [Wickremesinghe] must work within the reality that he is a caretaker president,” he said.
The Ratnapura district national list MP, a former leftist leader, is a staunch critic of the IMF and famously said in parliament in November 2021: “We will not go to the IMF even if we die.”
The group of 10 is also known for its pro-Russian, pro-China outlook and their suspicion of the West.
President Wickremesinghe has repeatedly articulated his plans to work with the IMF and several rounds of negotiations have already been held, though there is still some uncertainty on when staff level agreement can be reached. The main opposition Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) has also expressed conditional support for an IMF programme. (Colombo/Aug15/2022)