By Susitha Fernando
Colombo, Nov 19 (IANS) Formation of a new government in Sri Lanka will be decided this week after the Prime Minister, Opposition leader and other party leaders finalise their decision on the three choices they have agreed on, the Speaker’s Office announced on Tuesday.
Following Saturday’s election of Gotabaya Rajapaksa as the seventh President of the country, the government and the opposition have been discussing the transition of power.
Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa — the brother of Gotabaya who is tipped to be the next Prime Minister — and several party leaders reached three options to settle the change of government.
The three options are: dissolve Parliament on March 1 next year and have a parliamentary election in April, dissolve Parliament with a 2/3rd majority and go for an immediate parliamentary election; or Prime Minister Wickremesinghe and the government step down and allow newly appointed President Gotabaya to appoint a caretaker cabinet until an election is held.
The Speaker’s Office stated that one of the three options is to be decided after political party leadere meet this week and the Speaker is to convene a meeting in parliament to inform the final decision.
Former Defence Secretary and military man Gotabaya Rajapaksa won Saturday’s Presidential race defeating his main rival Sajith Premadasa, who was backed by a number of political parties, including those representing minority Tamils and the Muslims.
Soon after election result was out, a number of cabinet ministers of Premadasa’s government resigned and its Prime Minister Wickremesinghe too opted to step down.
Rajapaksa on Tuesday officially assumed duty as the President and appointed key posts in the government: the President’s Secretary, Defence Secretary, Finance Ministry Secretary and Telecommunications Regulatory Commission Director General.
Meanwhile, Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar along with a team of officials met Rajapaksa on Tuesday.