Sirisena reinstates Ranil as PM

Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena on Sunday reinstated United National Party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister, seven weeks after firing him in a snap move. The re-appointment signals a likely end to the political impasse that gripped the island since October 26, when Mr. Sirisena appointed his former rival Mahinda Rajapaksa as premier. The move, which sparked concern domestically and abroad, left the country without a legitimate government for nearly two months. No change in stand However, in a message that seemed to foretell challenges facing the “new government”, President Sirisena on Sunday said there was no change in his “personal position” that he would not work with Mr. Wickremesinghe even if all 225 members in Parliament backed him. “But as a leader who respects parliamentary traditions and democracy, I invited Ranil Wickremesinghe to form the government,” he said in a special statement that indicated that the power struggle between the leaders was far from over. ‘In national interest’ Defending his earlier actions sacking Parliament and calling for snap polls — which the Supreme Court declared illegal last week — President Sirisena said he believed that the decision of 155 lakh voters would be more acceptable than that of 122 MPs. “I took all the decisions in the interest of the country alone,” he said, apparently unwilling to back down from his earlier stance.

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