Colombo, May 12: UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe is likely to be the next choice for Prime Minister of Sri Lanka. Former prime minister Wickremesinghe and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa held closed door discussions on Wednesday evening, which included an offer from Rajapaksa for Wickremesinghe to take up the post, the Daily Mirror reported. The talks also included Wickremesinghe’s request to allow the protesters at Galle Face to continue their peaceful protests. Rajapaksa also discussed with Wickremesinghe about taking the country forward under his Premiership. While there was no official confirmation from Wickremesinghe on whether he has agreed. Senior political sources said that Wickremesinghe was likely to be appointed this week.
Opposition Leader and Leader of the SJB, Sajith Premadasa who was initially offered the post by President Rajapaksa, said he would take it up only if Rajapaksa resigns. The SJB camp held meetings throughout the day yesterday. With the party split on this decision with some members calling on Sajith. To take up the post without putting forward conditions at this crucial time of severe political instability and violence. Harin Fernando was the first MP to leave the party. And announced he will sit independently as Sajith’s conditions were ill-timed. When news of Wickremesinghe’s meeting with Rajapaksa spread, the SJB camp said it is willing to form a new government under four conditions.
First, the President must resign within a stipulated period. Second, the President must not interfere in the work of a new government. Third the executive presidency must be abolished. And fourth general elections must be held after economic stability is assured. While these conditions came out. With some senior SJB members themselves criticizing Sajith’s timing in making such demands. Former President and SLFP Leader Maithripala Sirisena was quick to tell the media.
That a letter had been sent to the President by the 11 parties. And the independent parliamentary group nominating three names to the vacant post of Prime Minister. The Daily Mirror learns that these three names are that of Nimal Siripala De Silva, Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe and Dullas Alahapperuma. However, out of all contenders, till Wednesday night, the meeting between Wickremesinghe and Rajapaksa seemed to have seen some progress with Wickremesinghe likely to be sworn in this week. Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned as the Prime Minister on Monday following violent clashes which left nine people dead.