Ranil Wickremesinghe took oath as the next Prime Minister of Sri Lanka on Thursday after being appointed by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. The veteran politician will take charge of the office for the fifth time amid a severe economic crisis in the island nation.
The 73-year-old’s appointment follows President Rajapaksa’s earlier addressed to the nation in which he said that a new prime minister and his cabinet will be put in place by this week.
Wickremesinghe appeared as the only option after the country’s largest opposition party refused to form a government headed by someone from the Rajapaksa family.
It may be noted that Wickremesinghe was the chief of United National Party (UNP), a breakaway faction of which, the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) forms the principal opposition in the country.
This comes after the resignation of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on Monday amid dire economic conditions that the country finds itself in.
Meanwhile, anti-government protesters are also demanding the resignation of President Rajapaksa. The speaker’s office of the country’s parliament said that a debate over a no-confidence motion against the President will likely take place on May 17.
Massive protests are ongoing against the government’s handling of the situation as a shortage of food and fuel and soaring prices of other essential items brought the government under fire.
Pro and anti-government groups clashed in Colombo on Monday after which a state of emergency was declared across the island nation.
The President had said in his address yesterday that he would appoint a Prime Minister and cabinet “that can command a majority in Parliament and can gain the confidence of the people of the country to control the current situation, and prevent the country from heading towards anarchy.”