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Sri Lanka’s new president to appoint ally of ousted Rajapaksa as PM – sources

Sri Lanka’s new president to appoint ally of ousted Rajapaksa as PM – sources

Sri Lanka’s new president to appoint ally of ousted Rajapaksa as PM – sources

Sri Lanka’s new president to appoint ally of ousted Rajapaksa as PM – sources (credits:google)

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  • Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe will appoint an ally of the deposed Rajapaksa dynasty as prime minister. Dinesh Gunewardena, a former foreign and education minister, expected to be appointed.
  • A lack of foreign currency has crippled the country of 22 million people. Despite Wickremesinghe’s unpopularity among some sections of the population, the protest movement that forced Rajapaksa out of office remained largely muted.
  • Only a few people stood outside the presidential secretariat, a colonial-era structure that was stormed by protesters earlier this month.
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COLOMBO, 21 JULY – Four sources said on Thursday that new Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe will appoint an ally of the deposed Rajapaksa dynasty as prime minister, a day after urging unity to find a way out of the country’s worst economic crisis in decades.

Wickremesinghe, a six-time prime minister, succeeded Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who fled Sri Lanka and resigned last week amid widespread criticism of his handling of the economy. On Thursday, a swearing-in ceremony was held in parliament.

According to sources close to Wickremesinghe and Gunewardena, he is expected to appoint Dinesh Gunewardena, a former foreign and education minister, as prime minister along with a new cabinet on Friday.

A lack of foreign currency has crippled the country of 22 million people, causing fuel, food, and medicine shortages as prices skyrocket.

According to the statistics department, annual inflation reached 59 percent in June.

Protesters were successful in removing Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his brother, ex-premier Mahinda Rajapaksa, but many want Wickremesinghe and others who they see as family allies to go as well.

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The power and energy ministry said that Sri Lanka received new diesel supplies over the weekend and that the main state-run distributor, Ceylon Petroleum Corporation, will resume sales under a new rationing system on Thursday.

Protesters gather in Colombo to oppose Sri Lanka’s newly elected President Ranil Wickremesinghe.
Ranil Wickremesinghe, the Eighth Executive President elected under the Constitution, arrives at a Buddhist temple in Colombo. Supporters of newly elected President of Sri Lanka Ranil Wickremesinghe celebrate in Colombo.

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Ranil Wickremesinghe, the Constitution’s Eighth Executive President, leaves a Buddhist temple in Colombo, Sri Lanka, July 20, 2022, amid the country’s economic crisis.

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Despite Wickremesinghe’s unpopularity among some sections of the population, the protest movement that forced Rajapaksa out of office – the first sitting Sri Lankan president to resign – remained largely muted.

On Thursday, only a few people stood outside the presidential secretariat, a colonial-era structure that, along with the president’s and prime minister’s official residences, was stormed by protesters earlier this month.

Some, however, have vowed to continue fighting Wickremesinghe.

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“We will not give up because the country requires a complete system change,” said Pratibha Fernando, a protester at the secretariat. “We want to get rid of these corrupted politicians, so we’re doing it.”

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Wickremesinghe appeared to distance himself from the Rajapaksa family, which has dominated Sri Lankan politics for decades, just hours after winning the parliamentary vote on Wednesday.

“I am not a supporter of the Rajapaksas. I am a person’s friend “After praying at a Buddhist temple, he told reporters.

Wickremesinghe, who served as Rajapaksa’s prime minister and finance minister, has been involved in talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) about a bailout package worth up to $3 billion.

Sri Lanka is also seeking assistance from neighbours India and China, as well as other international partners.

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