03/18/2022, 13.12
SRI LANKA
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Rajapaksa goes on TV to ask people to trust him, but calls for his resignation multiply

by Melani Manel Perera

Amid the economic crisis, the president claims to have done his best and blames his predecessors for the crisis. For economist Liyanage, “A ration system for those with the lowest income would have been a sensible step.” The president instead “put the whole weight of the situation on the shoulders of the people.”

Colombo (AsiaNews) – In light of the serious social crisis created by rising prices, Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa addressed the nation in a televised speech asking his compatriots to trust him.

This comes as more and more people in the streets and on social media call on him to resign. To make this point, hundreds of people have protested outside the President’s Office for the past two days.

Rajapaksa spoke to the country Wednesday evening, claiming that he was well aware of the plight of the people. He justified himself by saying that the crisis that the country is going through is not his fault and that those who created it are precisely those who are now criticising the government.

“I know that this situation will continue for reasons beyond our control though we make maximum possible efforts with regard to these situations,” he said.

He went on to say that he was determined to make difficult decisions working with the International Monetary Fund after considering every aspect, positive and negative. This is why he urged his fellow Sri Lankans to renew their trust in him.

For senior journalist Kusal Perera, “It is clear that [. . .] this government that asked for a mandate to develop the country should take responsibility for this protracted socio-economic collapse.”

“If you ask me who created these crises, politicians are not alone,” Perera explained, speaking to AsiaNews. “Top civil servants in [government] departments are behind the corrupt mega projects that began with foreign loans that have nothing to do with development”.

“If the president had been 'sensitive' to the pressure of the people and rising commodity prices, he would have taken a step forward and proposed solutions. But he did not,” economist Sumanasiri Liyanage told AsiaNews.

“A ration system for those with the lowest income would have been a sensible step.” Instead, “he put the whole weight of the situation on the shoulders of the people.

“He is responsible for not looking at the issues over the past two years, not prioritising them in time, and not taking the right precautions.”

Meanwhile, more and more people on social media are saying “Gota Go Home”.

Increasingly, people who have to spend hours and days in queues for gas, fuel and milk powder, those who have lost their jobs, are publicly expressing their anger and cursing the president and the Rajapaksa family.

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