"I wish you all the best"
Opposition leader and former premier Ranil Wickremesinghe was sworn in as Sri Lanka’s 26th prime minister to stabilise the country’s economy.
Wickremesinghe was sworn in as prime minister by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, days after his predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa was forced to resign following violent protests over the worst economic crisis in the nation.
The 73-year-old United National Party (UNP) leader took over as the prime minister as the country was without a government since May 9, 2022, when Rajapaksa resigned after violence erupted following an attack on the anti-government protesters by his supporters.
The attack triggered widespread violence against Rajapaksa loyalists, leaving nine people dead and wounding over 200 others.
Along with a picture of him and Wickremesinghe, President Gotabaya tweeted:
“My best wishes to the newly appointed PM of #LKA, @RW_UNP, who stepped up to take on the challenging task of steering our country through a very turbulent time.
“I look forward to working together with him to make Sri Lanka strong again.”
Mahinda was quick to congratulate Ranil Wickremesinghe, saying that he wishes him all the best as he navigates “these troubled times.”
Mahinda tweeted: “Congratulations to the newly appointed Prime Minister of #lka, @RW_UNP.
“I wish you all the best as you navigate these troubled times.”
The High Commission of India in Colombo said it looks forward to working with the new Government of Sri Lanka formed per democratic processes:
“High Commission of India hopes for political stability and looks forward to working with the Government of Sri Lanka formed in accordance with democratic processes pursuant to the swearing-in of Hon’ble @RW_UNP as the Prime Minister of #SriLanka”
It said that India’s commitment to the people of Sri Lanka will continue.
Members of the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), a section of the main Opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) and several other parties have expressed their support to show a majority for Wickremesinghe in Parliament, sources said.
However, several factions opposed the move to appoint Ranil Wickremesinghe as the new Prime Minister.
Wickremesinghe, a lawyer-turned politician who has been in Parliament for 45 years, has served as the prime minister on four previous occasions.
He was fired from the post of prime minister by then-President Maithripala Sirisena in October 2018.
However, he was reinstalled as the prime minister by Sirisena after two months.
Sri Lanka is facing its worst economic crisis since gaining independence from Britain in 1948.
The crisis is caused in part by a lack of foreign currency, which has meant that the country cannot afford to pay for imports of staple foods and fuel, leading to acute shortages and very high prices.