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Sri Lanka Economic Crisis highlights: New PM Ranil Wickremesinghe says look forward to closer ties with India

PM Mahinda Rajapaksa Resignation Updates, Sri Lanka Crisis Live News, 13 May 2022: India has said it hopes for political stability in Sri Lanka, and said that its commitment to the people of the country will continue.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: May 14, 2022 9:24:07 am
UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. (Photo: Reuters)

Sri Lanka Crisis Highlights: The newly-appointed Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, said he looks forward to closer ties with India during his term and thanked India for its economic assistance to the country as it tackles the economic crisis.

Wickremesinghe was sworn in as the 26th Prime Minister of the country on Thursday, replacing Mahinda Rajapaksa, who resigned amid widespread protests in the country. The High Commission of India in Colombo, welcomed Wickremesinghe, saying that it hopes for political stability and looks forward to working with the Government of Sri Lanka formed in accordance with democratic processes. “India’s commitment to the people of Sri Lanka will continue,” the High Commission said in a tweet.

Meanwhile, a Sri Lankan court Thursday issued a travel ban on erstwhile prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, his son Namal Rajapaksa and 15 others. Mahinda is currently under protection at the Trincomalee naval base. The Fort Magistrate’s Court barred them from travelling overseas due to the investigations taking place on the attacks on the GotaGoGama and MynaGoGama peaceful protest sites on Monday, Reuters quoted media reports as saying.

Live Blog

Sri Lanka Crisis Live Updates: Ranil Wickremesinghe sworn in as Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, says look forward to 'closer ties' with India;  Follow latest updates here

21:37 (IST)13 May 2022
Lanka PM meets ambassadors, discusses formation of international forum for financial aid

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Friday met with ambassadors of India, Japan, the US and China and discussed the formation of an international forum for financial assistance to the debt-ridden island nation engulfed in the worst economic crisis since its independence in 1948. 

18:27 (IST)13 May 2022
China reacts guardedly to Ranil Wickramasinghe's appointment as Lanka PM

China on Friday reacted to the appointment of Ranil Wickramasinghe as the country's Prime Minister succeeding pro-Beijing Mahinda Rajapaksa, saying it supports the government's efforts to sustain stability in the face of chaos. "As a traditional, friendly country to Sri Lanka, we closely follow the latest developments, and we also support the Sri Lanka government's effort to sustain stability," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters.

15:55 (IST)13 May 2022
Sri Lanka protesters vow to continue anti-govt campaign despite new PM  

Sri Lanka’s new Prime Minister will begin forming a unity government on Friday, but his appointment has failed to appease anti-government protesters demanding the resignation of the president for the country's disastrous economic crisis. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa appointed veteran opposition politician Ranil Wickremesinghe as the island nation's prime minister late on Thursday after a week of violent clashes that left 9 people dead and over 300 injured.

“We will stop this struggle when our people get justice,” said Chamalage Shivakumar, one of the hundreds of people who have camped out at a protest site in the main city Colombo. “Whoever they appoint as prime minister, we will not stop this struggle until people get relief.” (Reuters)

13:23 (IST)13 May 2022
Indian envoy calls on new Sri Lankan Prime Minister Wickremesinghe

The Indian High Commissioner Gopal Baglay on Friday became the first foreign envoy to call on the new Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and discussed with him the current situation in the country amid the worst economic crisis, according to sources here. 

Wickremesinghe, 73, was sworn in as Sri Lanka's 26th prime minister on Thursday to stabilise the country's debt-ridden economy and end the political turmoil. 

Baglay visited Wickremesinghe immediately after the latter assumed duties in his office on Friday, Prime minister's office sources said.

They discussed the current situation in the country amid the ongoing economic crisis, the worst since the country gained independence in 1948. (PTI)

12:15 (IST)13 May 2022
Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka denies stopping issuance of visas

Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka on Friday categorically denied that it has stopped issuing visas in the country, saying the disruption was caused by operational difficulties due to the inability of Visa Wing staff, most of whom are Sri Lankan nationals, to attend office. The High Commission said it was striving to return to its normal functioning soon.

11:02 (IST)13 May 2022
Watch | Businesses, shops shut amid curfew in Colombo on Thursday

On Thursday, despite a brief period of respite when the curfew was lifted, local businesses and stalls had to shut shop after it was reimposed. Local shopkeepers told Reuters that they were struggling to stay afloat amid a loss of income.

10:15 (IST)13 May 2022
Sri Lanka's new PM Wickremesinghe says he looks forward to closer ties with India

Sri Lanka's new Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has said he looks forward to closer ties with India during his term and thanked India for its economic assistance to the country as it tackles the worst economic crisis since independence.

Wickremesinghe, 73, was sworn in as Sri Lanka's 26th prime minister on Thursday to stabilise the country's debt-ridden economy and end the political turmoil. 

"I want a closer relationship and I want to thank Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi,” Wickremesinghe said, referring to the Indian economic assistance to his country.

His remarks came during a religious ceremony held here last night after he took the oath. (PTI)

09:32 (IST)13 May 2022
Who is Ranil Wickremesinghe, Sri Lanka's new PM?

Sri Lanka's new Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, a lawyer-turned politician who has been in Parliament for 45 years, has made a remarkable come back nearly two years after his United National Party (UNP) was routed and failed to win a single seat in the general election held in August 2020. 

Wickremesinghe, who is perceived as the Sri Lankan politician who could command international cooperation, has held many important posts during his political career spanning four and half decades. 

He built a personal rapport with Sri Lanka's immediate neighbour India and visited the country on four occasions - October 2016, April 2017, November 2017 and October 2018 - during his previous term as the prime minister.

Wickremesinghe, the nephew of Sri Lanka's first executive president Junius Jayewardene, was first appointed Prime Minister from 1993-1994 after the assassination of President Ranasinghe Premadasa.

He was also elected as the Prime Minister from 2001-2004 when the United National Front Government won the general elections in 2001. But he lost power in 2004, after Chandrika Kumaratunga called early elections.

During his term as Prime Minister, he began peace talks with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), even offering a power-sharing deal. Both Kumaratunga and Mahinda Rajapaksa had accused him of being too lenient with LTTE and of offering them too many concessions. (PTI)

20:58 (IST)12 May 2022
Will help Sri Lanka get out of crisis: Ranil Wickremesinghe

Newly sworn-in Prime Minister of Sri Lanka Ranil Wickremesinghe, after visiting a temple in Colombo, said: “We are facing a crisis, we have to get out of it.” (Reuters)

20:13 (IST)12 May 2022
India looking forward to working with new Sri Lanka govt: High Commission

Following the appointment of Ranil Wickremesinghe as the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, the Indian High Commission said it “looks forward to working with the new government formed in accordance with democratic processes”. “India's commitment to people of Sri Lanka will continue,” the High Commission added. (PTI)

19:48 (IST)12 May 2022
Sri Lanka stock index rises by over 3%

Sri Lanka’s stocks index on Thursday jumped over three per cent after being closed for two days on the speculation of the appointment of a new Prime Minister and political stability in the island nation.

19:17 (IST)12 May 2022
Sri Lanka Parliament to discuss no-trust motion against President Rajapaksa on May 17

Sri Lankan Parliament will debate a no-confidence motion against President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on May 17, the Speaker's Office confirmed on Thursday, amid the ongoing political turmoil triggered by the worst economic crisis plaguing the debt-ridden country. The decision was taken during the party leaders' meeting on Thursday. The motion would be taken up for debate after obtaining special approval from Parliament, the Daily Mirror newspaper reported.

18:52 (IST)12 May 2022
Ranil Wickremesinghe appointed Sri Lanka's new Prime Minister

UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe was administered the oath as the new Prime Minister of Sri Lanka by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Thursday. The 73-year-old had taken his oath of office, according to the media office of the President, who faces widespread protests demanding his resignation over the country's worsening economic crisis. 

18:24 (IST)12 May 2022
Will devise strategy soon if Ranil Wickramasinghe will become Sri Lanka PM: Opposition leader

Underlining that Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) is the largest opposition party in the country, Sri Lanka's Opposition leader Sajith Premadasa on Thursday said that his party will "devise a strategy" if United National Party (UNI) leader Ranil Wickramasinghe is made the prime minister of the country. In an exclusive interview with ANI, Sajith spoke about the letter he wrote to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in which he expressed willingness to assume the prime minister's post under some demands put forward by his party.

16:43 (IST)12 May 2022
Ready to form govt if President resigns within stipulated time period: Sri Lanka Opposition Leader

Amid hectic parleys to form a new government in Sri Lanka, Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa said on Thursday that he would accept President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's invitation to form a new government if he agrees to some conditions, including his resignation within a stipulated time period.

In a letter to the President on Thursday, 55-year-old Premadasa said that the Samagi Jana Balawegaya-led Opposition is willing to form a new interim government in Sri Lanka subject to conditions. “One of the conditions put forward by Sajith Premadasa is that the 19th Amendment to the Constitution should be implemented with the support of all political parties within two weeks. Further, President Gotabaya must resign within a stipulated time period,” local media reported, citing the content of the letter.

The third condition is that the President should work together with all the political parties to work towards abolishing the Executive Presidency via the 21st Amendment to the Constitution. The fourth condition is that the President must call for Parliamentary Elections to give the people an opportunity to elect a new stable government, following the implementation of the aforementioned constitutional reforms, establishing the rule of law, and returning the people's lives to normalcy.

16:41 (IST)12 May 2022
Sri Lankans return home as curfew is lifted for few hours

Many Sri Lankans thronged buses in the main city Colombo to return to their hometowns during a brief relaxation in curfew.

15:32 (IST)12 May 2022
Will not take any post in a government under President Gotabaya Rajapaksa: Sarath Fonseka

Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka on Thursday categorically refused to accept any post in a government headed by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Fonseka, who is credited with the annihilation of the LTTE, strongly condemned any attempt to mislead the public through false propaganda after it was reported that the President had contacted Samagi Jana Balawegaya MP to offer premiership to him.

15:11 (IST)12 May 2022
Lanka's ex-PM Wickremesinghe, with 1 seat in Parliament, may return to premiership: Reports

Sri Lanka's former prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who has just one seat in the 225-member Parliament, could become the next premier, media reports said on Thursday, amidst the worst economic crisis in the debt-ridden island nation.

The 73-year-old United National Party (UNP) leader held talks with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Wednesday and is expected to meet him again on Thursday, the Colombo Page newspaper reported. Wickremesinghe, who has served as the country's prime minister for four times, was in October 2018 fired from the post of prime minister by then President Maithripala Sirisena. However, he was reinstalled as the prime minister by Sirisena after two months.

According to political sources, members of the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna, a section of the main Opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya and several other parties have expressed their support to show majority for Wickremesinghe in Parliament, it said. The report said that Wickremesinghe will be sworn in as the new prime minister on Thursday or Friday. UNP chairman Vajira Abeywardena has said that Wickremesinghe will be able to get a majority in Parliament after being sworn in as the new prime minister, replacing Mahinda Rajapaksa, who resigned on Monday. (PTI)

14:24 (IST)12 May 2022
Mahinda Rajapaksa, allies barred from traveling overseas

A Sri Lankan court on Thursday imposed a travel ban on former prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, his son Namal Rajapaksa and 15 others in view of investigations against them for the deadly attack on anti-government protesters in Colombo this week. 

The Fort Magistrate's Court barred them from traveling overseas due to the investigations taking place on the attacks on the GotaGoGama and MynaGoGama peaceful protest sites on Monday, News 1st website reported. 

The order was also imposed on parliamentarians Johnston Fernando, Pavithra Wanniarachchi, Sanjeewa Edirimanne, Kanchana Jayaratne, Rohitha Abeygunawardena, C. B. Ratnayake, Sampath Athukorala, Renuka Perera, Sanath Nishantha, Senior DIG Deshabandu Thennakoon among others. (Reuters)

14:22 (IST)12 May 2022
Ranil Wickremesinghe may return as Sri Lanka's PM

Sri Lanka's former prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who has just one seat in the 225-member Parliament, could become the next premier, media reports said on Thursday, amidst the worst economic crisis in the debt-ridden island nation.

The 73-year-old United National Party (UNP) leader held talks with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Wednesday and is expected to meet him again on Thursday, the Colombo Page newspaper reported.

According to political sources, members of the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), a section of the main Opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) and several other parties have expressed their support to show majority for Wickremesinghe in Parliament, it said.

The report said that Wickremesinghe will be sworn in as the new prime minister on Thursday or Friday.

UNP chairman Vajira Abeywardena has said that Wickremesinghe will be able to get a majority in Parliament after being sworn in as the new prime minister, replacing Mahinda Rajapaksa, who resigned on Monday. (PTI)

Vehicles of Sri Lanka's ruling party supporters are seen in a lake after being pushed into the water during a clash of pro and anti-government demonstrators near the Prime Minister's official residence in Colombo, Sri Lanka, May 10, 2022. (Reuters)

The 73-year-old United National Party (UNP) leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe, was appointed as the prime minister by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa after they held closed-door discussions on Wednesday. Wickremesinghe, who has served as the country's prime minister four times, was in October 2018 fired from the post of prime minister by then-President Maithripala Sirisena. However, he was reinstalled as the prime minister by Sirisena after two months.

"India's commitment to the people of Sri Lanka will continue," the High Commission said in a tweet.

"High Commission of India hopes for political stability and looks forward to working with the Government of Sri Lanka formed in accordance with democratic processes pursuant to the swearing-in of Hon'ble @RW_UNP as the Prime Minister of SriLanka," it said.

In its first reaction to the situation in Sri Lanka after Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned as Prime Minister, India on Tuesday said that it was “fully supportive” of the island nation's democracy, stability and economic recovery. -- PTI

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