December 16, 2018
Ranil Wickremesinghe has been sworn in again after he was abruptly fired by Sri Lanka’s president earlier this year.
Mr Wickremesinghe said his removal was unlawful
By Ajay Nair, news reporter
Sri Lanka has reinstated ousted prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, bringing closure to two months of political instability in the country.
He was sworn in on Sunday before Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena after taking on the post for a fifth time.
Mr Wickremesinghe’s United National Party confirmed the news on its Twitter account and a new cabinet is expected to be sworn in shortly.
Ranil Wickremesinghe’s supporters outside the supreme court
The island nation plunged into uncertainty after the president abruptly fired Mr Wickremesinghe, citing differences over policy-making, and brought in former prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa in a surprise move in October.
Two no confidence motions were soon brought against Mr Rajapaksa in the Sri Lankan parliament, with Mr Wickremesinghe insisting his removal was against the law.
Incredible scenes followed as violent attacks by Mr Rajapaksa’s loyal backers broke out in parliament.
The president rejected the no confidence motions, saying procedures had not been properly adhered to.
Politicians had already passed a confidence vote in Mr Wickremesinghe while they sought to reinstate him in a bid to defuse a constitutional crisis.
On Friday, Sri Lanka’s supreme court extended a suspension of Mr Rajapaksa, which forced him to stand down.
The supreme court extended a suspension of Mr Rajapaksa
Several other countries refused to recognise Mr Rajapaksa’s newly-formed government.
In an address to the nation on Saturday, he said a president could not “stand by and do nothing when the whole country was facing destruction at the hands of the people running the government” and said the previous government had taken billions of dollars in foreign loans.
He said he had planned to “prevent this country from becoming another Greece”.
Mr Sirisena (centre) ousted Mr Wickremesinghe in October
However, Mr Rajapaksa added: “Since I have no intention of remaining as prime minister without a general election being held, and in order to not hamper the president in any way, I will resign from the position of prime minister and make way for the president to form a new government.”
Mr Sirisena took on the presidency in 2015, vowing to uphold democracy and fight corruption, but has since seen his popularity take a hit due to his personal differences with Mr Wickremesinghe.