COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s president swore in veteran politician Ranil Wickremesinghe as the new prime minister Thursday, officials said. The 73-year-old had taken his oath of office, according to the media office of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who faces widespread protests demanding his resignation over the country’s worsening economic crisis.
Abeywardena said more than 160 legislators in the 225-member parliament support Wickremesinghe’s selection, but this could not be verified independently. There was no immediate comment from President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who has the power to appoint the prime minister.
If Rajapaksa selects Wickremesinghe, it would be seen as an attempt to end violence triggered by the crisis and restore international credibility as his government negotiates a bailout package with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and debt restructuring plans. Local media reports said the 73-year-old UNP leader will take oath as prime minister at 6:30pm (13:00 GMT) on Thursday.
Sri Lanka crisis
For the unversed, Sri Lanka has been reeling under a crippling economic crisis coupled with political turmoil. A severe shortage of food, fuel, and other basic supplies followed by the inaction of the ‘Rajapaksa clan’ has led simmering discontent among 22 million citizens in the island nation to bubble. Protestors from all walks of life, including Buddhist clergy members, have joined the anti-government rallies calling for an immediate step down of the Rajapaksa administration. Weeks after ignoring the calls, on May 10, Mahinda Rajapaksa finally tendered his resignation to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa after protests had already turned chaotic.
(Desk with Media Reports)