Sri Lanka appoints Ranil Wickremesinghe as new Prime Minister

Photo: laprensalatina

Thursday, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka named opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe as the country's next prime minister amid an unprecedented economic and political crisis.

Wickremesinghe, who has previously served as prime minister on many occasions, replaces Mahinda Rajapaksa, who resigned on Monday amid escalating violence during anti-government demonstrations on the island.

The President's Media Division announced that Ranil Wickremesinghe, an opposition politician and head of the center-right United National Party, was sworn in as the new prime minister.

The president's brother and former prime minister tweeted, "Congratulations to the newly appointed Prime Minister." "I wish you the best as you navigate through these difficult times."

This latest appointment comes as President Rajapaksa strives to end the acute political crisis that has gripped the island nation since March, when large-scale protests demanding the president's resignation and his government for economic mismanagement began.

Wickremasinghe's experience in the realm of the economy and his pro-Western inclination are two qualities of the newly chosen prime minister, vital to advancing Sri Lanka's present negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to resolve the economic crisis.

His nomination comes one day after the president, in a televised address to the nation, stated he would create a new government this week and adopt a constitutional amendment handing greater power to the parliament in response to the prime minister's resignation.

The resignation was precipitated by a wave of violence unleashed by his fans, who assaulted anti-government protestors camped for weeks near the president's and prime minister's offices, demanding their ouster.

Wickremasinghe's United National Party lacks a majority in parliament, having only one seat, forcing Malcolm Ranjith, the head of the Catholic Church in Sri Lanka, to reject a government led by him.

Wickremasinghe, a lawyer by trade and a member of a Sinhalese aristocratic family with media business holdings, has previously served as prime minister from 1993 to 1994, 2001 to 2004, 2015 to 2018, and 2018 to 2019.

The current political crisis in Sri Lanka began two months ago when protests erupted in response to the government's failure to assure the supply of critical goods, such as fuel, cooking gas, medicines, food, and milk powder.

People blame the government led by President Rajapaksa for their economic troubles, which are exemplified by severe shortages of necessities and crippling inflation.

Monday, supporters of the ruling party attacked the protest camp near the presidential palace, igniting violent violence and throwing the island nation into a social and political crisis of unprecedented proportions.

Publish : 2022-05-12 23:00:00

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