Colombo, May 12
Opposition leader and former premier Ranil Wickremesinghe was sworn-in as Sri Lanka’s 26th Prime Minister on Thursday, days after his worst predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa was forced to resign following violent protests over the economic crisis in the debt-ridden island nation.
The 73-year-old United National Party (UNP) leader took oath before President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at a ceremony in the President’s office after they held closed-door discussions over formation of a new government to address the economic crisis.
“My best wishes to the newly appointed PM, who stepped up to take on the challenging task of steering our country through a very turbulent time. I look forward to working with him to make Sri Lanka strong again,” President Gotabaya tweeted along with a picture of him and Wickremesinghe.
Sri Lanka was without a government since Monday when Gotabaya’s elder brother and former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned after violence erupted following an attack on the anti-government protesters by his supporters. The attack triggered widespread violence against Rajapaksa loyalists, leaving nine dead.
Mahinda quickly tweeted a congratulatory message to Wickremesinghe. He is under protection at a naval base following violent attacks on his aides.
Members of the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) and some from the main Opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) and several other parties said they would back Wickremesinghe in Parliament, according to reports.
However, several factions opposed the move to appoint Wickremesinghe as the new Prime Minister. — TNS/PTI
- Wickremesinghe, a lawyer-turned politician who has been in Parliament for 45 years, has served as PM on four previous occasions
- He was fired from the post by then President Maithripala Sirisena in October 2018. He was reinstalled after two months
- He is widely accepted as a man who could manage the economy with far-sighted policies, and is perceived as the Sri Lankan politician who could command international cooperation
ex-PM sends wishes
Congratulations to the newly appointed Prime Minister. I wish you all the best as you navigate these troubled times. — Mahinda Rajapaksa, former Lanka PM
India hopes for political stability
The High Commission of India hopes for political stability and looks forward to working with the Government of Sri Lanka formed in accordance with democratic processes. India’s commitment to the people of Sri Lanka will continue. — Indian High Commission
My best wishes to the newly appointed PM, who stepped up to take on the challenging task of steering our country through turbulent times. Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Lanka Prez