President Ranil Wickremesinghe took oath today as Sri Lanka’s new President amid an unprecedented economic crisis in the country. And restoring order after months of mass anti-government protests. However, the live broadcast of his swearing-in ceremony was inexplicably cut off on local television. Just before the ceremony got underway. The swearing-in ceremony of Wickremesinghe as the 8th Executive President was scheduled to be telecast live by state-run Rupavahini. And broadcasted simultaneously by other television channels.
During the swearing-in ceremony, Sri Lanka’s police chief and top military brass stood behind the new president as the oath was taken. Wickremesinghe took his oath before Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya. Former President and sitting MP Mahinda Rajapaksa was seen at Ranil Wickremesinghe’s swearing-in ceremony in Colombo on Thursday. Official sources said he was expected to shortly form a cabinet not exceeding 30 ministers to steer the country out of its worst economic crisis since gaining independence from Britain.
The power outage incident happened just as the president and his wife Maithree walked into the building after reviewing a military parade. Live coverage of the swearing-in at the tightly-guarded parliament complex was cut off. It is reported that the power was out for about 10 minutes at the time of the swearing-in of the President. Sri Lanka’s Criminal Investigations Department (CID) has launched an investigation to figure out the power outage incident in the Parliament complex.
Sri Lanka says Ranil, go home!
After Wednesday’s vote, Wickremesinghe called for politicians to work together and pleaded for the country to move on. But people flocked the presidential office instead, chanting, “Ranil, go home!”
Protest leaders told reporters on Wednesday they don’t accept Wickremesinghe’s appointment and urged him to step down immediately.
Parliament’s selection goes against the “will of the people”. Said Jeewantha Peiris, a protest leader and Catholic priest, adding that demonstrations against Wickremesinghe would continue.
Wickremesinghe was sworn in as Sri Lanka’s eighth president. His appointment received mixed reactions, with some supporters lighting crackers while some continued to demand his resignation.
Wickremesinghe, 73, has wide experience in diplomatic and international affairs. And has been overseeing bailout talks with the International Monetary Fund. He won the support of 134 members in the 225-member Parliament.