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Rajapaksa asks people to have a ‘positive attitude’ as crisis-hit Sri Lanka turns 74

Difficult days don’t last long, Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said on Friday, asking his people to build a “positive attitude” as the island country celebrates its 74th independence day amid an unprecedented economic crisis, with people fearing a shortage of essentials

Feb 04, 2022
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Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa

Difficult days don’t last long, Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said on Friday, asking his people to build a “positive attitude” as the island country celebrates its 74th independence day amid an unprecedented economic crisis, with people fearing a shortage of essentials. 

Rajapaksa, who won the 2019 presidential elections with a thumping majority, has been facing a crisis that few other Sri Lankan leaders have faced. With soaring external debt, depleting foreign reserves, and struggling tourism industry, ensuring the country’s day to day supplies, fuel and essentials have become a big challenge for the government. 

On Friday, the country celebrated its 74th Independence Day. President Rajapaksa, In his speech on Friday, said, “People of great resolve are needed to face difficult times.” Taking a dig at opposition parties, he said, “anyone who demoralizes another is not doing any good to the society at this moment.”  

Assuring the people, he said none of the crises the country was experiencing were long-term problems and that people could find solutions to them with an optimistic approach. “All of us have an enormous responsibility to build a positive attitude in the country to face these crises successfully.” 

"This year, we celebrate Sri Lanka’s 74th Independence Day amidst many great challenges,” said Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, while acknowledging the challenges posed by the pandemic. 

Sri Lanka, he said, had earlier lost its freedom to foreign invasions, and separatist war (civil war). In the last two years, because of Covid-19, we lost our freedom to develop economically, he said in his election day speech. 

The government’s celebration event,  held at the independence celebration at Independence Square in the capital Colombo, was boycotted by opposition parties, who were opposing the big celebration, with the display of aircraft and military equipment.

Samagi Jana Balawegaya, the country’s main opposition party, along with other parties stayed away from the government celebration and held their separate program. Ranil Wickremesinghe, former prime minister, also didn’t attend the event. 

(SAM)

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