COLOMBO: Crisis-hit Sri Lanka has run out of petrol as it is unable to find dollars to finance essential imports, the new prime minister said Monday in an address to the nation.
"We have run out of petrol... At the moment, we only have petrol stocks for a single day," Ranil Wickremesinghe said, warning his bankrupt country could face more hardships in the coming months.
Earlier, Sri Lanka's new prime minister won crucial support from two main opposition parties on Monday, easing the pressure on the ruling Rajapaksa clan in the face of the island's worsening economic crisis.
1. The next couple of months will be the most difficult ones of our lives. I have no desire to hide the truth and to lie to the public. Although these facts are unpleasant and terrifying, this is the true situation. #SriLankaEconomicCrisis— Ranil Wickremesinghe (@RW_UNP) May 16, 2022
The main opposition SJB party appeared to drop its demands that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa should step down before backing a coalition to manage the crumbling economy.
The SJB, or Samagi Jana Balawegaya, declined to join a unity government led by new Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, but said it would "unconditionally support the positive efforts to revive the economy".
"It is important to save the country from the grave economic crisis," it said in a brief statement.
And the second-largest opposition party, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), said it would join the cabinet.
Even so, thousands of protestors remained camped outside the sea-front office of 73-year-old President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, whose brother Mahinda quit as premier last week, demanding his resignation in turn.
Shortages of food, fuel and medicines, along with record inflation and lengthy blackouts, have brought severe hardships to the country's 22 million people, in the worst financial crisis since independence from Britain in 1948.
Wickremesinghe's appointment last week - his sixth turn as prime minister - has so far failed to quell public anger at the government for bringing Sri Lanka to the brink of economic collapse.
Troops patrolled the streets as consumers queued up for scarce supplies and the government announced that a six-hour night curfew will be reimposed from Monday after a 24-hour break.
The curfew was relaxed on Sunday, the first day of a two-day holiday for Vesak, the anniversary of Buddha's birth, enlightenment and death.