Colombo, May 12: Beleaguered Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is all set to name a new prime minister on Thursday. To try to steer the country out of its dire economic crisis after days of violence. Khaleej Times reported. Former premier Ranil Wickremesinghe is the frontrunner to head a “unity government”. With cross-party support in the 225-member parliament. And replace Rajapaksa’s elder brother Mahinda who stepped down on Monday.
“A swearing-in is likely today unless there is a last-minute hiccup,” a senior official close to the president said. In a televised address to the nation Rajapaksa had stopped short of yielding to weeks of nationwide protests calling for him to resign and promised the formation of a new unity government and bring about certain constitutional changes.
The main opposition SJB party was initially invited to lead a new government. But its leader Sajith Premadasa insisted that the president first step down. But then about a dozen MPs from the SJB pledged support to Wickremesinghe, 73. Who has been prime minister five times since 1993. And is seen as a pro-West free-market reformist. Wickremesinghe is the only legislator from his United National Party (UNP). Which was routed at the August 2020 election that gave Rajapaksa a two-thirds majority.
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