Sacked Lankan PM is PM again, India heaves sigh of relief

Colombo, Dec 16: Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, sacked from the post in October, was sworn in again on Sunday by President Maithripala Sirisena, a move that ended a nearly two-month political impasse that erupted after his surprising dismissal.Wickremesinghe, who is also the leader of the ruling United National Party (UNP), took his oath of office at the Presidential Secretariat here as hundreds of his supporters massed outside, reports Xinhua news agency.A new cabinet under Sirisena and Wickremesinghe is expected to be sworn in on Monday.UNP lawmakers told the media that Wickremesinghe's appointment "had restored democracy in the country and the new government would now work towards strengthening the economy and unveiling new proposals".Sunday's move comes after Mahinda Rajapakse resigned on Saturday as Prime Minister, seven weeks after he was appointed by Sirisena following Wickremesinghe's dismissal on October 26.A new caretaker government was also sworn in after the ouster.India on Sunday welcomed the end of political impasse in Sri Lanka with Ranil Wickremesinghe being sworn in again as Prime Minister of the island nation."As a close neighbour and true friend, India welcomes the resolution of the political situation in Sri Lanka," External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in response to media queries."This is a reflection of the maturity demonstrated by all political forces, and also of the resilience of Sri Lankan democracy and its institutions."India remains committed to taking forward its people oriented development projects in Sri Lanka. We are confident that India-Sri Lanka relations will continue to move on an upward trajectory," he added.Wickremesinghe, sacked from the post in October, was sworn in again on Sunday by President Maithripala Sirisena, a move that ended a nearly two-month political impasse that erupted after his surprising dismissal.Wickremesinghe, leader of the United National Party (UNP), took his oath of office at the Presidential Secretariat in Colombo as hundreds of supporters massed outside. A new cabinet under Sirisena and Wickremesinghe is expected to be sworn in on Monday.UNP lawmakers told the media that Wickremesinghe's appointment "had restored democracy in the country and the new government would now work towards strengthening the economy and unveiling new proposals".Sunday's move comes after Mahinda Rajapakse resigned on Saturday as Prime Minister, seven weeks after he was appointed by Sirisena following Wickremesinghe's dismissal on October 26.On Wednesday, Parliament passed a vote of confidence in Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister.The Supreme Court ruled the next day that Sirisena had acted illegally in November by dissolving Parliament and calling snap polls nearly two years ahead of the next elections.The UNP said Wickremesinghe's dismissal by Sirisena had been unconstitutional as he held a majority at parliament.

IANS

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