Sri Lanka Current Affairs
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On 16th December 2018, Ranil Wickremesinghe has once again become the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka after the end of the weeks-long political crisis in the island nation.
On 26th October 2018, Mr. Ranil Wickremsing was ousted as Prime minister of Sri Lanka. He was replaced by Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Prime Minister. Mr. Rajapaksa resigned on 15th October 2018 after he failed to prove majority in the Sri Lankan Parliament. Ranil Wickremesinghe has been sworn in as the Prime minister for the fifth time which is a record in Sri Lanka.
About Ranil Wickremesinghe:
- Ranil Wickremesinghe is a Sri Lankan politician and the incumbent Prime Minister of Sri Lanka.
- He belongs to United National Party and has served as its leader since 1994.
- He got elected as Member of Parliament (MP) for the first time in 1977 from Colombo District.
- Ranil Wickremesinghe was appointed as the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs in the J. R. Jayewardene government.
- He also became the youngest cabinet minister of Sri Lanka after he was promoted to the post of Minister of Youth Affairs and Employment.
- Ranil Wickremesinghe has also been the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka from 1993 to 1994 and 2001 to 2004.
- After the assassination of Gamini Dissanayake, during the 1994 presidential election campaign, Wickremesinghe was appointed the party leader of the United National Party in November 1994.
- Maithripala Sirisena defeated Mahinda Rajapaksa in the 2015 presidential elections of Sri Lanka. Following which, on 8th January 2015, Wickremesinghe was appointed as prime minister by Sirisena.
In the 2015 parliamentary elections of Sri Lanka, Wickremesinghe’s coalition alliance, called as the United National Front for Good Governance, won 106 seats. Although it did not attain an outright majority, Wickremesinghe got re-elected as Sri Lankan Prime Minister as over 35 MPs from the Sri Lanka Freedom Party joined his cabinet.
Newly appointed Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa ended his five-decade-long association with Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and joined newly-formed Sri Lanka People’s Party (SLPP). SLFP was founded by his father Don Alwin Rajapaksa in 1951. Rajapaksa’s joining SLPP signals that he will contest snap polls, under his own party banner and not that of President Maithripala Sirisena’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP). SLPP was formed in 2017 by Rajapaksa’s supporters as platform for his re-entry into politics. In February 2018 local council elections SLPP won two-third of total 340 seats.
Sri Lankan Political and Constitutional Crisis
In January 2015 Presidential election, then President Mahinda Rajapaksa (was in office for decade from 2005) was unexpectedly defeated by his then deputy Sirisena with support from Ranil Wickremesinghe’s United National Party (UNP). But, power-sharing arrangement between President Sirisena and PM Wickremesinghe in later times became increasingly uncertain on several policy matters, mainly on economy and security.
Further rift had developed between them over policy towards China and India, with Wickremesinghe favouring Indian investment as counter to Chinese inroads in Sri Lankan infrastructure projects and Sirisena’s intention to contest 2020 presidential election under Mr Wickremesinghe’s party.
In October 2018 Sirisena had abruptly removed Wickremesinghe and replaced with Rajapaksa, a pro-China strongman as new Prime Minister. This move had plunged Sri Lanka into political and constitutional crisis. Sirisena had suspended parliamentary proceedings and later dissolved it, after it became evident that there is not enough support in House to prove Rajapaksa’s premiership.