Today Ranil Wickramasinghe (also transcribed Wickremesinghe), leader of the single largest party in Sri Lanka’s newly elected parliament, was sworn as Prime Minister by President Sirisena (SLFP). The swearing in ceremony was held in the premises of the Presidential Secretariat at 9:30am.
Afterwards the acting general secretaries of Sri Lanka’s two major political parties, Kabir Hashim (UNP) and Duminda Dissanayake (SLFP), signed an agreement to work together in the new parliament. Such a power-sharing cooperation of the two rivaling largest parties is an unusual move in Sri Lankan politics. The deal is called Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to form a national government. Already yesterday, the SLFP, main party in the UPFA alliance, that forms the second largest faction in the new parliament, had decided to agree to form this kind of pre-arrangement aiming to form grand coaliton with the UNP for at least two years. A five-member committee was formed to work on forming a national unity government. The unity government shall be committed to "ethnic reconciliation". The SLFP, which until recently had opposed any concessions to the Tamil minority, now agreed to back constitutional reforms aimed at addressing minority rights. But until now it does not go into specifics.
Former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, political rival of incumbent president and the prime president, was also present during the inauguration ceremony and shook hands with both of them. Mahinda Rajapaksa and his loyalists in the SLFP might try to make it difficult for the coalition to deliver on promised constitutional changes, which need a two-thirds majority in Parliament.
Already on the election day that President Sirisena, who had succeeded Rajapaksa as SLFP leader but had failed to secure the support of his party during recent months, purged Rajapaksa loyalists.
all Sri Lanka blog articles
by region, by topic
and A-Z here...