Ousted Sri Lankan Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera on Tuesday said the “Maithripala Sirsena-Mahinda Rajapaksa coup” has led the country to an unprecedented political crisis, the Daily Mirror reported. In a statement, Samaraweera said Sri Lanka is on the brink of economic anarchy and chaos it has never experienced before.

Meanwhile, the Sri Lanka rupee fell to a record low of 178 against the United States dollar on Wednesday.

Samaraweera’s statement comes at a time Sri Lanka is battling a political crisis following President Maithripala Sirisena’s decision on October 26 to remove Ranil Wickremesinghe as prime minister and replace him with former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The president also suspended Parliament till November 16 to prevent a vote from being held. Though Sirisena later lifted the suspension and said the Parliament would reconvene on November 14, he dissolved it again and called snap elections on January 5. However, the Supreme Court stayed Sirisena’s decision to dissolve Parliament.

Sirisena removed Wickremesinghe just nine days before the 2019 Budget was to be presented.

On November 14, Parliament Speaker Karu Jayasuriya said a no-confidence motion had been passed against Rajapaksa and his government. The next day, Parliament was supposed to repeat the floor test but the proceedings were disrupted.

The former finance minister also said that all government payments, including public sector salaries, pensions and welfare payments, from January 1, 2019, will be illegal. “As the Finance Minister, I have made allocations to ensure funding until December 31st 2018, however from January 1st 2019, the country will fall into a crisis,” Samaraweera said.

Samaraweera called on Sirisena to recognise the prime minister and government that was in place before he sacked Wickremesinghe. The former finance minister said the president’s actions “based on personal animosities” have put Sri Lanka’s ability to pay its debts at risk. “The actions of October 26 have irreversibly undermined Sri Lanka’s credibility in global markets,” Samaraweera said. “We are being pushed towards a state of economic collapse as we stumble on to a road of a Greece-like situation.”

The ousted minister called on the public to support efforts to “re-establish the supremacy of parliament and the constitution”.

Anti-social elements may rise: Leader of Opposition

Sri Lanka leader of Opposition R Sampanthan on Tuesday said that “without a government or a prime minister”, anti-social elements may take the law into their own hands, The Hindu reported. “In such a situation, the country’s minorities, especially Tamils, may become the victims.”