Mahindra Rajapaksa replaces Ranil Wicckremesinghe as Sri Lanka Prime Minister


COLOMBO: Power in the island nation of Sri Lanka fell into the hands of the Rajapaksa family with newly-elected President Gotabaya Rajapaksa naming his elder brother Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Prime Minister of the island nation.

According to an AFP report, the appointment came immediately after Ranil Wickremesinghe resigned as the PM, days after the ruling party’s candidate lost the presidential election to Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.

Despite his government having a majority in the Parliament, Wickremesinghe said he decided to step down in respect of the mandate in the Presidential polls, where Gotabhaya Rajapaksa defeated Wickremesinghe’s deputy Sajith Premadasa.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa, former defence secretary known for crushing the Tamil militancy in the country, won the election by garnering 52.25 per cent votes.

Mahinda had earlier called for Wickremesinghe’s resignation asserting that governance will improve if the President and the Cabinet are from the same party. “I think it is better if we have General Elections. Many Cabinet members have already stepped down. I think it is more effective to have a Government where the President and Cabinet are from the same party,” the Daily Financial Times quoted Gotabaya as saying.

Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was the leader of the opposition, held the prime minister’s post briefly in 2018 when he was appointed by then-president Maithripala Sirisena, in a move that had put the country into a constitutional crisis. However, he had to resign in December last year after the Supreme Court made the embattled former strongman’s efforts to cling to premiership untenable.\

Mahinda had served as Sri Lanka’s President from 2005 till 2015. He became the country’s youngest-ever parliamentarian in 1970 at the age of 24.

The rise of Rajapksa is a matter of concern for India since they have been making a consistent tilt towards China, which is trying for a strategic presence in the Indian Ocean.

Image Credit: The Daily Beast

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