Sri Lanka: Rajapaksa resigns, Wickremesinghe likely to take oath tomorrow
Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was appointed as Sri Lanka's Prime Minister on October 26 by President Maithripala Sirisena in a controversial move, resigned today, as two crucial Supreme Court decisions made the embattled former strongman's efforts to cling to premiership "untenable". Rajapaksa informed the lawmakers of UPFA that he has resigned from the post. Ranil Wickremesinghe is expected to take oath as Prime Minister tomorrow.
Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa will make a statement to the nation shortly.— Mahinda Rajapaksa (@PresRajapaksa) December 15, 2018
Sirisena has reportedly agreed to reinstate ousted Prime Minister Wickremesinghe in the post after a discussion with him over the phone on Friday, Colombo Page reported. Wickremesinghe's United National Party (UNP) said that it was decided during the discussion that he will take oath as the Prime Minister at 10 am tomorrow. A new Cabinet will be sworn in on Monday.
The Cabinet will consist of 30 members and include six Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) parliamentarians. Rajapaksa was appointed after Sirisena sacked Wickremesinghe, which plunged the country into an unprecedented constitutional crisis. Wickremesinghe refused to accept it and challenged it in court and Parliament.
The Supreme Court yesterday refused to stay a court order restraining Rajapaksa, 73, from holding the Prime Minister's Office until it fully heard the case next month. The apex court on Thursday unanimously declared that the dissolution of Parliament by Sirisena was "illegal". Rajapaksa's decision to resign was "to ensure stability of the nation," his son Namal had said this in a tweet yesterday.
To ensure stability of the nation, Former President @PresRajapaksa has decided to resign from the Premiership tomorrow after an address to the nation. The SLPP with Frm President, SLFP others will now work to form a broader political coalition with President Sirisena.— Namal Rajapaksa (@RajapaksaNamal) December 14, 2018