Opposition Leader and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa will be sworn in as the Prime Minister on Thursday. Spokesman for the Opposition Leader Rohan Weliwita speaking to media said that Rajapaksa will then assume duties as the new Prime Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office. This follows the resignation announced last evening of UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister.
UNP sources said that the outgoing Premier Wickremesinghe had stepped down in order to allow President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to form a fresh Government in the light of the results of last week’s Presidential election.In a special statement yesterday, the Prime Minister said that he had met President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Tuesday and discussed the future of Sri Lanka’s Parliament.
“During the past five years we acted to protect democracy, freedom, freedom of speech, right to information, equality and reconciliation. Similarly we embarked on a path to development. Through the 19th Amendment, we freed all institutions from politicisation.One result of it was the ability to hold the recent presidential election in a democratic and free manner.”
Wickremesinghe noted that the correct verdict on all they had done will be given in the future. “I met President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on the 19th and we discussed the future activities of the Parliament.” He said that while his Government still has the majority in Parliament they had decided to respect the mandate given to President Rajapaksa at the Presidential election and step down. “I will allow the new President to form his own government and step down. I will be notifying the President of my resignation today (21).
Wickremesinghe’s resignation comes after SLPP candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa was elected as President having convincingly won the Presidential election. Several members of the Cabinet resigned earlier in order to allow the new President to appoint a caretaker cabinet till the Parliamentary election.
It has been reported that Rajapaksa has already given indications that he will appoint a 15-member Cabinet until the Parliamentary election is held.