Express News Service
NEW DELHI: In a dramatic turn of events, Ranil Wickremesinghe was appointed the 26th Prime Minister of Sri Lanka by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Thursday, days after Mahinda Rajapaksa vacated the seat amid riots. Perhaps the only factor that works for Ranil is his experience because this is his sixth term as PM. He could well go down in Sri Lankan history as the weakest PM the country ever had.
For, his United National Party (UNP) scored a duck in the 2020 parliamentary polls with Ranil, too, losing his seat. He later wormed his way into Parliament on the basis of his party’s cumulative national votes. Ranil’s deputy Sajith Premadasa broke away from the UNP to form the Samagi Jana Balawegaya and become the main Opposition party in the country.
Any interim government Ranil forms will have stability issues as each minister would assume he is no less than the PM. It works for Gotabaya though for obvious reasons. However, the President’s job is on the line as an all-party meeting decided to debate a no-confidence motion against Gotabaya in Parliament on Tuesday, May 17. Ranil’s appointment drew flak from various parties.
“Wickremesinghe has no legitimacy in the current Parliament right from the beginning. He did not even win his constituency,” said M A Sumanthiran, leader of the Tamil National Alliance. “Ranil has always been the saviour of the Rajapaksa family. No citizen will accept palace conspiracies,’’ said Anura Kumara Dissanayake, leader of the National People’s Power Party and People’s Liberation Front.
However, sources said Ranil will somehow pull his way through with support from the government and a section of the opposition. “Some supporters of Sajith Premedasa will end up supporting Ranil and he will have support of the Rajapaksas, specially Mahinda. It’s likely that Ranil will last till the next elections. India and US, too, are likely to be supportive of him as a PM,’’ a political expert from Colombo told TNIE.