In the midst of long-simmering agitations sparked by the worst economic crisis, the intensifying political crisis has made the Sri Lankan administration fragile. The Rajapaksa clan is resolute to be in power though Mahinda Rajapaksa had resigned from the post of Prime Minister earlier this week. He relinquished the post after the protests had grown against him with the protesters blaming him for instigating the violence. Days after his resignation, it's time for the island nation to welcome the new Prime Minister.
In what would become a precarious political equation, the opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe is all set to become the Prime Minister succeeding Mahinda Rajapaksa. Upon taking charge, Wickremesinghe will create a history by becoming the Prime Minister for the sixth time. According to reports, Wickremesinghe will take oath as the new Prime Minister of Sri Lanka on Thursday and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa will administer the oath of office.
As the new premiership is about to take charge, the nation is getting ready to witness how it would assay in fixing the economic crisis and how Wickremesinghe is going to work with Gotabaya Rajapaksa, whom the former has been opposing. Earlier, the main opposition party of Sri Lanka, Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), has handed over to the Parliamentary Speaker motions of no-confidence against the ruling Sri Lanka Podhujana Peramuna (SLPP) coalition by holding the latter accountable for the severe economic downfall.
Reacting to the no-confidence motion, Wickremesinghe had demanded that either any one of the ruling brothers must step down. He said, "This problem can only be solved if either the President or the Prime Minister resigned. It is up to them to make a decision." Days after the opposition charted to oust the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime through the no-confidence motion, he had stepped down from the Prime Minister post after a strong agitation against him for inciting violence against the protesters.
Through his resignation, Mahinda's cabinet had fallen and the country is currently being run by Mahinda's younger brother, Gotabaya Rajapaksa. After Mahinda's resignation, President Gotabaya has on Wednesday vowed that he will not quit his office and he went on to promise the Sri Lankan people that a new Prime Minister and a young cabinet will be appointed and the cabinet would then introduce key constitutional reforms to curb his powers.
In a late-night televised address to the nation, President Gotabaya said that after appointing the new Prime Minister and government, a constitutional amendment will be moved to enact the content of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which will vest more powers with the Parliament. He said, "I will appoint a young cabinet without any of the Rajapaksas." Following his address, he had held talks with Wickremesinghe which hinted that the latter would become the new Prime Minister.
On the other hand, it is yet to be known how Wickremesinghe's United National Party (UNP) could command a majority as his party has only one seat in the 225-seated Parliament. The reports say that Wickremesinghe could possibly head a unity government with support from all the parties. For the ruling clan, the downfall of Mahinda Rajapaksa has become a big blow and the protests against him were in the fashion that it was said he was considering fleeing the country.
Already, Mahinda and his family members have been sheltered at a Naval base in Trincomalee and a Sri Lanka court has on Thursday imposed a foreign travel ban on Mahinda Rajapaksa and 12 other leaders of the SLPP. The order was passed with the view of allegations against them for attacking the anti-government protesters in Colombo recently. As Sri Lanka is looking for a new premiership, the politics has been in a precarious state with no guarantee for a long-term government unless the economy shows the sign of recovery and the protests show the scale of mitigation.