A gazette notification issued Friday by the Sri Lankan President’s secretary announced that President Ranil Wickremesinghe has suspended parliament until February 8, when he is to announce new long-term policies to address various issues. One of these issues is the economic crisis and clear bankruptcy Sri Lanka faces. These policies will continue to be in effect until the country’s centennial celebrations in 2048.
The President did not give any clear reason for the suspension. The economic crisis, and consequent widespread economic protests, were primarily caused by the pandemic, where there were acute food, fuel and medicine shortages. This was aggravated by a lack of foreign currency, preventing the country from accessing these resources while also having to default on its debts. There is wide speculation that the policies Wickremsinghe introduces will also cover the issues surrounding the sharing of power with the ethnic Tamil minorities. According to UN conservative estimates, the civil war between the ethnic Tamil rebels and the government of Sri Lanka, which is dominated by the Sinhala majority, concluded in 2009 with the defeat of the Tamil insurgents.
According to tradition, Wickremesinghe will deliver his speech in his inaugural address. During this period, the parliamentarians will keep their seats, and the speaker will continue to function even though the parliament is not in session.