Sri Lanka reinstates ousted prime minister Wickremesinghe: official

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Wickremesinghe

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s sacked prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was reinstated yesterday, a legislator told media, ending a 51-day political crisis in the island nation. Wickremesinghe was sworn in by President Maithripala Sirisena, who sacked him on October 26 and triggered a power struggle that brought the country’s government to a standstill.

Legislator Harsha de Silva, who attended the swearing-in ceremony, tweeted a photo from the president’s office where Wickremesinghe took his oath.

Earlier, the reuters reported Ranil Wickremesinghe will return as Sri Lankan prime minister on Sunday, a lawmaker from his party and an official at the president’s office said, likely ending a political crisis that began in late October when he was surprisingly ousted.

Wickremesinghe’s comeback is an embarrassment for President Maithripala Sirisena, who replaced him with former president Mahinda Rajapaksa following differences over policy making and other issues.

However, Rajapaksa failed to win a parliamentary majority and resigned on Saturday as a government shutdown loomed.

“He will take the oath at an auspicious time today,” Rajitha Senaratne, a Cabinet spokesman under Wickremesinghe’s former government, told Reuters.

An official at the president’s office confirmed that Wickremesinghe would be sworn in, which should help achieve parliamentary approval for a temporary budget that is required by Jan. 1.

The South Asian island country’s parliament voted to cut the budget for Rajapaksa and his ministers after Sirisena refused to accept no-confidence votes against Rajapaksa, saying that due process was not followed.

Parliament has already passed a confidence vote in Wickremesinghe while it sought his reinstatement as prime minister to defuse a constitutional crisis. —Agencies

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