Sri Lanka’s main opposition party refuses to support new premier 

Wickremesinghe named new prime minister after his predecessor resigned on May 9 amid violent protests.

The main opposition party in Sri Lanka opposed the appointment of Ranil Wickremesinghe as the new prime minister and said it will not support him in the parliament, local media reported on Friday.

On Thursday, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa appointed Wickremesinghe as the new prime minister of the crisis-hit country in an effort to bring stability after former Premier Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned on May 9 amid violent protests.

“Samagi Jana Balawegaya will not extend any support to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe,” the party’s General Secretary Ranjith Madduma Bandara told News 1st television.

He added his party has called a meeting on Friday to discuss the current situation and motion against the president.

Samagi Jana Balawegaya is the second-largest party in the parliament, with 54 seats in the 225-member parliament.

President Rajapaksa’s party Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna enjoys the support of 145 members of parliament. While the new prime minister’s United National Party has only one seat.

On Thursday, the new premier said he will show a majority from both sides in the parliament, according to News 1st.

The 73-year-old politician has already served as prime minister of the country for five terms.

However, this time the current economic crisis is a big challenge for him as last week the South Asian country was hit by violent protest.

People took to the streets at the end of March, protesting hours-long daily power cuts and shortages of food, fuel, and other vital goods after a foreign exchange shortage led to the island country’s worst-ever economic crisis.

On Monday, clashes erupted between government supporters and protesters gathered around the Prime Minister’s Office, and military units were called to the capital Colombo.

Amid growing pressure from the opposition, Mahinda Rajapaksa stepped down.

The government declared a nationwide curfew and ordered troops to open fire on anyone looting public property or causing harm to life.

In nationwide protests, eight people, including a ruling party deputy and two police officers, lost their lives and nearly 250 people were injured.

-AA

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