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Ranil Wickremesinghe sworn in as new Prime Minister of Sri Lanka

By Livemint
Ranil Wickremesinghe in the new Sri Lankan PM. (AFP)

Wickremesinghe took his oath before President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at a ceremony in the president’s office on Thursday.

The president’s brother, Mahinda Rajakapsa, resigned as the PM on Monday following violent attacks by supporters on peaceful anti-government protesters. His resignation automatically dissolved the Cabinet, leaving an administrative vacuum.

Mahinda has since fled the capital Colombo and taken refuge at the Trincomalee naval base on the country's east coast.

The president’s selection of Wickremesinghe is seen an attempt to end violence triggered by the crisis and restore international credibility as the government negotiates a bailout package with the International Monetary Fund.

'Collapse beyond redemption'

Sri Lankans have suffered months of severe shortages of food, fuel and medicines -- as well as long power cuts -- after the country burnt through foreign currency reserves needed to pay for vital imports.

The central bank chief warned Wednesday that the economy will "collapse beyond redemption" unless a new government was urgently appointed.

The central bank almost doubled key interest rates and announced a default on Sri Lanka's $51-billion external debt as part of the policy shift, officials said.

Sri Lanka is facing its worst economic crisis since gaining independence from Britain in 1948. The crisis is caused in part by a lack of foreign currency, which has meant that the country cannot afford to pay for imports of staple foods and fuel, leading to acute shortages and very high prices.

Thousands of demonstrators have hit the streets across Sri Lanka since April 9 seeking the resignation of the Rajapaksa brothers.

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Dive Deeper:
Ranil Wickremesinghe sworn in as PM of crisis-hit Sri Lanka
Five-time former leader is being appointed in an effort to bring stability to the island nation, says a party official.
Ranil Wickremesinghe: Sri Lanka’s returning prime minister
Wickremesinghe returns for a sixth term as Sri Lanka PM with the country mired in political and economic crises.
Indian envoy calls on Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe
India has committed more than $3 billion to debt-ridden Sri Lanka in loans, credit lines, and credit swaps since January…
I want to thank PM Narendra Modi, says Sri Lanka's new PM Ranil Wickremesinghe
COLOMBO: Sri Lanka's new Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has said he looks forward to closer ties with India during his…
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Crisis-hit Sri Lanka names Ranil Wickremesinghe as new PM: Who is he?
Wickremesinghe, a contentious choice by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, took his oath in a ceremony at the president’s residence. Protesters have…
India-Sri Lanka relations to get ‘much better’, says Ranil Wickremesinghe
During his previous stints as the PM, Wickremesinghe visited India on four occasions – October 2016, April 2017, November 2017…
Get all your news in one place