Sri Lanka crisis: Gotabaya Rajapaksa agrees to drop brother as Prime Minister
Politicians are preparing positions before parliament resumes May 4
Rajapaksa will also discuss the matter with other parties, lawmaker Weerasumana Weerasingha said
Sri Lanka is near bankruptcy and has announced it is suspending payments on its foreign loans
Sri Lanka's President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has reportedly agreed to drop his older brother as Prime Minister in a proposed interim government to solve a political impasse that has been caused by the country's worst economic crisis in decades.
It is reported that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa agreed that a national council will be appointed to name a new Prime Minister and Cabinet comprised of all parties in Parliament, local media reported on Friday.
Sirisena, a former president, was part of the ruling coalition before his Sri Lanka Freedom Party quit in protest of the Rajapaksas' policies.
Rajapaksa will also discuss the matter with other parties, lawmaker Weerasumana Weerasingha said, without elaborating.
However, Rohan Weliwita, a spokesperson for Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, said the President has not communicated any intent to remove the Prime Minister, and a decision will be announced if such a step is taken, news agency ANI reported.
Earlier, Rajapaksa reshuffled his Cabinet and offered a unity government in an attempt to quell the protests, but opposition parties refused to join a government headed by the Rajapaksa brothers.
Both the President and Prime Minister have held onto their positions, while three other Rajapaksa family members resigned from the Cabinet earlier in April in what appeared an attempt to pacify angry protesters.
The Rajapaksa family has dominated nearly every aspect of life in Sri Lanka for most of the last 20 years. Protesters who have crowded the streets since March held them responsible for the crisis.
It is reported that politicians are preparing positions before parliament resumes May 4. A divided opposition, that has so far been unable to form a majority and take control of Parliament, said it has enough support to oust the President.
Sri Lanka is near bankruptcy and has announced it is suspending payments on its foreign loans.
It has to repay $7 billion in foreign debt this year, and $25 billion by 2026. Its foreign reserves stand at less than $1 billion.
The foreign exchange shortage has severely limited imports, forcing people to wait in long lines to buy essentials such as food, fuel, cooking gas and medicine.
Meanwhile, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had earlier said that India is committed to stand with the people of Sri Lanka, and the changes proposed by Rajapaksa are unlikely to affect New Delhi’s support for the nation.
India sees Sri Lanka as a crucial part of the country's "Neighbourhood First" policy, and New Delhi has provided Colombo financial assistance worth almost $2.5 billion, including a $1-billion line of credit in March for buying food, medicines and essential items.