Sri Lanka’s opposition has rejected an invitation from the president to form a unity government, urging his resignation over the country’s worsening shortages of food, fuel and medicines.

The opposition’s demand this week came as anti-government protests continued throughout the country and overseas, including in Vancouver, over its worst economic crisis in memory and deepening mistrust in President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s leadership.

The president’s office said he “invites all political parties represented in the parliament to come together to accept ministerial portfolios in order to find solutions to this national crisis”.

The largest opposition political alliance – the United People’s Power or Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) – rejected the proposal.

“The people of this country want Gotabaya and the entire Rajapaksa family to go and we can’t go against the people’s will and we can’t work alongside the corrupt,” top SJB official Ranjith Madduma Bandara told The Associated Press news agency.

SJB has 54 MPs in the 225-member parliament.

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