The Sri Lankan Anglican Church has called on President Ranil Wickremesinghe to dissolve parliament in early 2023.
“Dissolve parliament in early 2023 as soon as the constitution permits, so that the people can choose a new parliament that reflects their aspirations,” the Anglican Church’s Diocesan Council of Colombo said in a statement.
The council said the actions of the government and members of parliament in the past three months have demonstrated their unwillingness or inability to heed the call for a change in the political culture of the country.
“Respond to the people’s longstanding demands for constitutional and legislative reform to abolish the executive presidency, promote effective checks on the exercise of executive power, restore independent commissions and ensure that all executive and legislative actions incompatible with the constitution can be challenged by the people,” said the Diocesan Council.
The president has the power to summon or terminate and dissolve the parliament only after 30 months.
The Anglican Church said despite the change in the executive presidency and widespread support for most of the demands of those campaigning for political reform, little has changed in the political situation in the country.
The Church expressed deep appreciation for the young protesters who lead the campaign for political change as well as civil society groups participating in the struggle, including religious leaders from all faiths and the Bar Association of Sri Lanka.
The Diocese of Colombo expressed its solidarity with the movement for change as it continues its important work in the year ahead.
Civil society organizations, journalists and members of the public have taken to the streets in recent weeks and called on the government to step down because they have not received the mandate of the people.
Nuwani Madusha, a prominent student leader and activist, said the government continues to stifle dissent and suppress all opposition in order to cling to power.
“Wasantha Mudalige, a prominent student leader and rights activist, and Ven. Galwewa Siridhamma Thera have been detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, with no charges up to now,” she said during a protest rally in Colombo on Nov. 2.
She further called for the immediate release of all rights activists under the draconian law, which the government has assured the European Union will be replaced by next year.
Karu Jayasuriya, former speaker and president of the National Movement for a Fair Society, urged the government to take appropriate and practical measures to regulate the prices of goods and services which have been unjustifiably raised, causing serious injustice to the people as the country faces its worst economic crisis in decades.
The government is currently engaged in debt restructuring negotiations with creditors in the hopes of obtaining approval for a $3.9 billion bailout program from the International Monetary Fund.