Failed Sri Lanka PM Ranil Wickremesinghe exits under cloud of graft, cronyism

World | 20 Nov 2019 7:55 pm

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe will resign this week, a spokesman from his office said, after his party's candidate lost a  presidential election over the weekend.
Sources had earlier told Reuters that Wickremesinghe's exit was imminent and local media separately reported that the new president, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, would soon name an interim cabinet to govern the island until a parliamentary election, expected around April.
"The resignation letter will be sent (to the president) by tomorrow," Sudharshana Gunawardena, a spokesman for Wickremesinghe told Reuters.
Former wartime defence minister Rajapaksa of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) won the presidency by a significant margin in Saturday's vote, defeating former housing minister Sajith Premadasa, the candidate of Wickremesinghe's United National Party (UNP)-led coalition.
Under the Sri Lankan constitution, Wickremesinghe's
government will be dissolved following his resignation.

Wickremesinghe came to power in 2015 on a promise to prosecute members of the outgoing Rajapaksa regime who were accused of corruption and even murder, but failed to bring any perpetrators to justice. He ended up facing accusations of cronyism and incompetence and was also implicated in several financial scandals himself.

His government also presided over major security lapses that were blamed for the suicide bombings on three churches and three hotels that killed 269 people on Easter Sunday, AFP reported.

Soon after Wickremesinghe's party lost Saturday's election at least 10 of his senior ministers, including finance minister Mangala Samaraweera, resigned.


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