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COLOMBO: Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa is going to issue a special statement on Monday evening, the PM Office said in a statement.

The speech comes at a time when the government is facing worldwide protests asking the PM and President to step down over the escalating issues in the country, Daily Mirror reported. Sri Lankans continue to protest against the government as the country faces an economic crisis.

“This protest will not end until this govt is brought down. We will stay here for months, years. It’s not about a single-family but the entire corrupt system,” a protester said.

Meanwhile, the meeting that took place between President Gottabaya Rajapaksa and former President Maithripala Srisena-led Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) to discuss the political and economic crisis affecting the country ended without any conclusion on Sunday, reported local media.

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“The main objective of the meeting is to coerce President Rajapaksa to form an interim administration under an all-party cabinet sans Rajapaksas with the least number of portfolios,” Srisena had said addressing the media at the party office prior to the meeting.

However, the two sides did not reach any conclusion on the formation of an interim government and agreed to have another round of discussions after the New Year holiday, reported Daily Mirror.

Earlier, amid the ongoing economic crisis in the country, eleven coalition allies of the Sri Lankan government and the independent group of former ruling party parliamentarians led by Anura Priyadarshana Yapa on Friday wrote to President Rajapaksa requesting the removal of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and the appointment of a new cabinet under a new PM.

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The letter carried the signatures of the President of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), former President Maithripala Sirisena, Member of Parliament (MP) Vasudeva Nanayakkara, MP Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, and President’s Counsel Wijayadasa Rajapaksha on behalf of the 42 MPs who left the government and sat in Parliament as an independent group, Colombo Page reported citing local media.

The letter also called on the President to work with the thus appointed Prime Minister and the Cabinet and hold elections within a limited time.

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Sri Lanka is battling a severe economic crisis with food and fuel scarcity affecting a large number of the people in the island nation resulting in massive protests over the government’s handling of the situation. The economy has been in a free fall since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, leading to the crush of tourism. Sri Lanka is also facing a foreign exchange shortage, which has, incidentally, affected its capacity to import food and fuel. The shortage of essential goods forced Sri Lanka to seek assistance from friendly countries.

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