Ranil Wickremesinghe Current Affairs

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Sri Lanka initiates process to formulate new constitution

The process to formulate new constitution in Sri Lanka has begun to replace the current executive president headed constitution.

In this regard, a resolution to set up a Constitutional Assembly was presented in the Parliament by Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

The present constitution adopted in 1978, has powerful nature of the Presidency which has become controversial in the past due to the growing authoritarian and personality cult tendencies in a single office.

Constitution making process

  • Incumbent members of parliament as its members will be members of the proposed Constitutional Assembly (CA).
  • A Constitution Bill will be formulated by the CA as per the Article 75 of the present Constitution.
  • In this regard, the CA will take into consideration deliberations, views and advice from the people across the country.
  • Incumbent Speaker of Parliament will be the Chairman of the CA and there will be seven Deputy Chairmen who shall be elected by the members of CA.
  • But the primary responsibility of drafting the new constitution will be of the steering committee having 17 members.
  • Once the draft Constitution Bill is approved the Parliament with a special majority followed by a referendum it will come into effect.

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Sri Lanka won’t allow any country to set up naval base on its territory

Sri Lankan Government has announced that they would not any country to set up naval base on its territory.

This announcement was made by Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe while he was speaking at the International Maritime Dialogue at Galle, Sri Lanka.

Significance of this announcement

  • The statement of Sri Lankan Prime Minister ends the apprehensions that Sri Lanka may allow China to use all or part of any of its harbours or ports for strategic naval military use.
  • Major setback for Chinese strategy to increase its geopolitical influence of soft diplomacy in Asia, East Africa connectivity and so called String of Pearls Theory.
  • Possibly stop Chinese long term plan to extend its sea power and geopolitical influence in the Indian Ocean. Thus, benefiting India’s influence in strategically important maritime regions connecting west with east.

Under the so called String of Pearls Theory

  • China was building special diplomatic and military relationships with Pakistan and Sri Lanka for extending its reach down the Indian Ocean and secure its energy security sea lines.
  • It was seeking to encircle India by setting up new strategic ports, airfields in Pakistan (Gwadar), Sri Lanka (Hambantota) and Bangladesh (Chittagong).
  • Chinese intentions was to increase its geopolitical influence in the Indian Ocean region mainly to overcome several major maritime choke points for its sea lines such as the Strait of Mandeb, Strait of Malacca, Strait of Hormuz and Lombok Strait.

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Ranil Wickremesinghe sworn in PM of Sri Lanka

Ranil Wickremesinghe has sworn-in as the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka for fourth time.

He was administered the oath of office by President Maithripala Sirisena at the oath taking ceremony held at Presidential Secretariat in Colombo.

Immediately after oath taking ceremony, two main parties in the country Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the United National Party (UNP) inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to form national unity government and work together in the parliament.

Ranil Wickremesighe has held the position of Prime Minister of the country on three earlier occasions i.e. in 1993-94, 2002-2004 and from January 2015 to August 2015.

He holds record of being Member of Parliament continuously without losing his seat for the last 38 years in Sri Lankan history.

Background

In recently concluded Sri Lankan parliamentary election 2015, UNP led by Mr. Wickremesinghe had emerged single largest party by winning 106 seats. They were short by seven members to become majority party in the 225-member parliament. SLFP which is loyal to President Maithripala Sirisena had won 95 seats.

In this election, Mr. Wickremesinghe had secured a record 5 lakh preferential votes from the Colombo constituency which is the highest number of votes polled by a candidate in Sri Lanka’s electoral history.

Comment

  • Wickremesinghe has a high reputation of being an honest and progressive politician in Sri Lanka who has always tried to bring reconciliation between the various communities.
  • During his earlier stints as Prime Minister, Mr. Wickremesinghe had marked friendly and close relations with India.

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