Where things stand at the moment, it might not be too incorrect or off the mark to state that not since the formation of the country have things been so despicable and bitter between the government and its people in Sri Lanka as what one finds today.
To say that there’s a sense of chaos in the country would be perhaps only stating the understated; the rate of inflation in the country, at present, knows no bounds, the rise in prices of essential commodities is perhaps at its peak where the worst is concerned.
Moreover, there’s a burgeoning sense of distrust and apathy between the general public and the government in Sri Lanka. To say that the debt-ridden country faces what is clearly an uncertain future would be perhaps mocking the worst cliche in the book of cliches, if one were to put it like that. Right?
Fuel prices are at an all-time high; who’s to know what might happen next?
Amid these circumstances arrives the news about the currently serving Sri Lankan president Gotabaya Rajapaksa quite simply refusing to step down. The 72-year-old current Matara-born president has simply defied the calls to step down from his office.
This comes at a time where the public faith in his capabilities as well as in those serving the country is only dwindling and has never been at such a low.
There’s duress. There’s uncertainty. One simply does not know what tomorrow may bring for the embattled or internally ruptured nation!
So the key questions, among the many, that have arisen, at this moment in time point to the direction of what could possibly happen in Sri Lanka; will the president be impeached, will he actually flee or will we even get to see a thorny situation like a military coup or something of that sort?
Who knows what’s to happen? But any among the following three directions could actually come true (and hence, define) in the destiny of Sri Lanka:
Impeachment of the President:
For starters, here’s what one needs to know. The Sri Lankan constitution makes it slightly difficult to remove a currently serving president (or to put it simply, the president holding office). Such a task is both cumbersome and time consuming.
So the key question here is- what might happen in such a scenario? For starters, the country will have to pass a resolution that must explain clearly as to why the president is unfit to lead the country. The same, therefore, must also be supported by not less than two thirds of the Sri Lankan parliament.
The same then must be investigated by the Supreme court and once that happens and the judges agree with the findings, the lawmakers need to vote again.
The President could form unity government with the opposition:
It must be clearly noted that the current President of Sri Lanka, Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s brother is no longer the Prime Minister of the country. So where does this leave the struggling nation?
Rajapaksa has already made an overture to the opposition in a bid to form an all-party government. But should this happen, it would simply mean that the president, apparently not the best friend of the Sri Lankan people, would still retain large powers.
Perhaps that is why the main opposition parties have already opposed this decision.
What must be, however, noted is that the country still has its Buddhist clergy among the most influential people in the nation. That’s besides the Bar Council of Sri Lanka.
At this point in time, both groups have proposed an interim government for Sri Lanka. This could run for 18 months whilst the lawmakers of the country will try to draw up some constitutional amendments that can effectively curb the presidential powers.
Parliament is dissolved, fresh elections are held in Sri Lanka
The third course of direction is that Sri Lanka could actually face a situation where fresh elections are held and the parliament is dissolved.
But again, the constitution dictates that the serving president of the country cannot dissolve the parliament until midway through the five-year term. This means, not before February of 2023.
Though, at the same time, what can also happen is that a resolution is passed as to as to request for dissolution.
Truth be told, some of the opposition leaders have agreed to the above, but again- such a process is both time consuming as well as complicated.
Effectively speaking, where the opposition stands is that it has already put forward a bill to clip (or curb) the powers of the current president instead of directing its energies towards contesting for fresh elections.
That being told, here’s the real catch to this:
If fresh elections were to happen and the opposition were to win the fresh elections, the president would still get to retain his large powers- which isn’t exactly what the troubled public of Sri Lanka wants or would desire.