Ranil Wickremesinghe has been appointed Sri Lanka’s prime minister, a position he has held five times in the past, in an effort to bring stability to the crisis-ridden island nation, a party official and local media reports say.
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.
“He is being sworn in as prime minister this evening because a number of members of parliament have asked him to take over and solve the country’s problems,” Vajira Abeywardena, an official of the United National Party (UNP) which Wickremesinghe heads, said on Thursday.
President Gotabaya also sent his best wishes after the ceremony.
Sri Lankan Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa in a last-ditch attempt accepted the President’s invitation to form an interim government. However, it was not taken on board.
JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said the solution that Ranil Wickremesinghe and Gotabaya Rajapaksa believe will solve the crisis, will not be believed or accepted by anyone in the country.
“The only thing that will happen is Ranil believes Gotabaya, and Gotabaya believes Ranil. Not a single citizen will believe what they do,” he told reporters on Thursday (12).
He alleged that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Ex-Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe have reached decisions without paying heed to the mandate of the people.
Former PM Mahinda Rajapaksa took to Twitter to congratulate his successor.
US Ambassador Julie Chung said she was looking forward to working Ranil Wickramasinghe and that his appointment as PM, and the quick formation of an inclusive government, are first steps to addressing the crisis & promoting stability.