Sri Lanka Crisis: Sri Lanka’s new Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said he looked forward to building closer ties with India during his tenure and thanked India for financially supporting the country. Sri Lanka is going through the worst economic crisis since independence. Wickremesinghe, 73, was sworn in as the 26th Prime Minister of Sri Lanka on Thursday with an aim to stabilize the country’s debt-ridden economy and end political turmoil. Referring to India’s financial assistance to his country, Wickremesinghe said, “I want close relations and I want to express my gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”
India said – hopeful about the new government of Sri Lanka
His remarks came after taking oath at a religious function held here last night. India has given a loan of more than three billion dollars to Sri Lanka since January this year. India on Thursday said it looked forward to working with the new Sri Lankan government formed in accordance with democratic procedures and New Delhi’s commitment to the people of the island nation would remain intact.
Wickremesinghe, the 73-year-old leader of the United National Party (UNP), has been sworn in as the Prime Minister. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s elder brother Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned in the country on Monday. Mahinda had resigned after violence erupted over attacks on anti-government protesters by his supporters.
Sri Lanka going through a big crisis
The attack was followed by widespread violence against Rajapaksa loyalists, in which nine people died and more than 200 were injured. Wickremesinghe said that his focus is on dealing with the economic crisis. “I want to solve this problem so that the supply of petrol, diesel and electricity can be ensured,” he said.
Sri Lanka is going through its worst economic crisis since gaining independence from Britain in 1948. Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said, “I will do the work I have undertaken.” Asked whether his prime ministership could continue as he has only one seat in the 225-member parliament, he said, “When it comes to proving majority, I will prove it.”
Referring to the protests across the country, he said the main protest, which has been going on near President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s secretariat for more than a month, would be allowed to continue. “If the protesters want, I will talk to them,” he said.
There is also opposition to the new PM
Asked whether he feared a protest demanding his resignation, Wickremesinghe said he would face them. According to sources, the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), a faction of the opposition Samagi Jana Balwegaya (SJB) and many others, according to sources. Members of the parties have expressed their support for Wickremesinghe to prove his majority in Parliament.
However, many sections are opposing the appointment of Wickremesinghe as the new Prime Minister. The JVP (Janata Vimukthi Peramuna) and the Tamil National Alliance claimed that his appointment was unconstitutional. Former President Maithripala Sirisena’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party said its central committee would meet on Friday morning to take a decision.