Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe resigns


File Photo of former Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

File Photo of former Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has resigned from his post, his office said on Wednesday, days after the ruling party’s candidate lost the presidential election to Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.

In a special statement, the Prime Minister said that he had met President Rajapaksa on Tuesday and discussed the future of Sri Lanka’s Parliament, Colombo Gazette newspaper reported.

He said that while his Government still has the majority in Parliament it was decided to respect the mandate given to Rajapaksa at the Presidential election and step down.

He was under pressure to quit and hand over the government to the opposite camp after Rajapaksa won the presidential election on Saturday.

Rajapaksa defeated Wickremesinghe’s deputy Sajith Premadasa.

Sources said President Rajapaksa will appoint his elder brother and former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa, the current main opposition leader, as the next prime minister.

Mahinda was appointed the Prime Minister on October 26, 2018, by the then President Maithripala Sirisena, in a controversial move that plunged the country into an unprecedented constitutional crisis.

He resigned in December as two crucial Supreme Court decisions made the embattled former strongman’s efforts to cling to premiership untenable.

The apex court later unanimously declared that the dissolution of Parliament by Sirisena was “illegal”.

Mahinda won power in 2005 and went on to become South Asia’s longest-serving leader. He became the country’s youngest-ever parliamentarian in 1970 at the age of 24.