Ranil Wickremesinghe, the country’s new leader, has officially asked lawmakers to join an all-party unity government that will enact difficult changes in an effort to rescue the nation’s failing economy, his office announced on Sunday.
Wickremesinghe assumed power earlier this month after his predecessor Gotabaya Rajapaksa was forced to leave the country and resign due to public outrage over the island nation’s greatest economic crisis.
Wickremesinghe presented his intentions to the powerful monks of the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy, one of Buddhism’s holiest sites, at a meeting on Saturday.
In his first meeting with the influential Buddhist clergy since assuming office, Wickremesinghe was quoted as saying, “As the president, I intend to start a new journey.”
In a letter to every MP, he has pleaded with them just to join a unity government.
After Mahinda Rajapaksa, the senior Rajapaksa brother, resigned and no one else shown interest in the position, Wickremesinghe, a former opposition MP, assumed the position of premier for a sixth time in May.
Following Gotabaya’s departure on July 9 when tens of thousands of demonstrators enraged by the economic crisis stormed the presidential palace, Wickremesinghe was elected president.