Written by Zulfick Farzan
11 Jul, 2022 | 4:15 pm
COLOMBO (News 1st); Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said that he accepted the post of Prime Minister as the economy was in disarray.
He said the IMF has noted that around four years would be required to stabilize the economy, the first year is the worst.
“I understand the hardships of the people, and I have apologized for that,” he said in a special televised statement.
Commenting on the 9th of July events, the Prime Minister said that those who attend the Mass Protest would pass his residence on their way back, and advised him to leave the premises.
The Prime Minister said he vacated the premises with his wife, and thereafter his only house was torched.
“My only treasure was my 2,500 book library,” said the Prime Minister adding that it contained limited edition and rare books, while only of many rare paintings he owned survived the fire.
“My wife and I agreed to donate these books to Royal College, University of Peradeniya, and another international body,” he said.
The Prime Minister said only people with Hitler-like mindset torch buildings and said there was a background event that led to what transpired that night.
He said at 4 PM on that day he spoke to the Party Leaders via Zoom, where proposals were made by Party Leaders for the President to resign, and to form a new government.
“The Opposition proposed the President, Prime Minister step down and for the speaker to become temporary President, and then form a government,” detailed the Prime Minister.
The ruling faction had remained silent, and therefore the Prime Minister had proposed that the President resign, and they form an all-party government, following which he would step down.
“These two weeks are crucial for the IMF discussions,” said the Prime Minister in his statement adding that it would be necessary for fuel, and food purchases.
He said that MP Rauff Hakeem had tweeted that evening that the Prime Minister had disagreed with the decision, and MP M. A. Sumanthiran had questioned why the Prime Minister does not wish to resign, to which Wickremesinghe responded by saying that he is willing to step down after forming a new government.
Thereafter, the tweet had gone to Sirasa Media and it was given publicity, and the other media outlets also did the same, said the Prime Minister, adding that thereafter he issued a statement expressing his willingness to step down and form a new all-party government.
“The other media report it, and that was the end of it. However, Sirasa Media continued to report on the matter. I spoke to their head and warned that my home could be set on fire,” said the Prime Minister adding he sent repeated statements.
Thereafter Sri Lanka Police fired tear gas at a group, and again at another group, said the Prime Minister.
“At that moment, a Sirasa Journalist had fallen and it was alleged that he was beaten. I apologized for that too,” said Wickremesinghe adding that if such an incident had taken place a complaint should have been filed with police to take action against the officer in question.
The Prime Minister said that instead of doing so, a message was sent around about heading to the Prime Ministers’ residence.
When a group reached there, police used a baton charge and fired protestors, and eventually, the residence was torched, said the Prime Minister.
He said that the government must abide by the law and act as per the provisions of the constitution, and he is Prime Minister to protect the constitution and through that listen to the woes of the people.
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