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Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Gets Reinstated

A spokesman for Wickremesinghe said he was expected to form a Cabinet in the coming days, with priority given to the 2019 budget

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Sri Lanka, prime minister
Sri Lanka's ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe looks on during a parliament session in Colombo, Dec. 12, 2018. On Sunday he was reinstated as prime minister, ending a political crisis.

Sri Lanka’s sacked Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was reinstated Sunday, his party said, ending a 51-day crisis that had paralyzed the island nation and pushed it toward debt default.

The 69-year-old leader was sworn in by President Maithripala Sirisena, who sacked him Oct. 26 and triggered a power struggle that brought the country’s government to a standstill.

Wickremesinghe had refused to step aside since being sacked and replaced by former leader Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Power struggle won

Sri Lanka had drifted without a functioning government for nearly two months as the rival factions jostled for power in parliament and the courts.

Sri Lanka, Parliament, Prime minister
Supporters of ousted Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe celebrate outside the supreme court complex in Colombo. VOA

Sirisena had vowed to never reappoint Wickremesinghe, who he publicly castigated in speeches in recent weeks, as prime minister under his watch.

The acrimony between the two was underscored Sunday when Sirisena barred journalists from attending the swearing-in ceremony, leaving it to Wickremesinghe’s legislators to announce the appointment.

“We thank the citizens of the country who fought the illegal seizure of power and ensured that democracy was restored,” his United National Party of Sri Lanka posted on Twitter

President’s appointee failed

Rajapaksa, Sirisena’s appointee, was unable to govern, failing many times to muster a majority in parliament.

Sri Lanka, prime minister
Sri Lanka’s disputed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa gestures as he arrives for a meeting with his supporting lawmakers at the parliamentary complex in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Nov. 29, 2018. VOA

He was defeated six times on the floor of the legislature before being forced to step down Saturday.

Sirisena suffered a huge setback when the highest court in the country ruled last week that he acted outside the constitution when he sacked parliament in early November.

The court also confirmed Friday that Rajapaksa and his purported Cabinet could not exercise the powers of the office they held.

Also Read: President’s Dissolution of Parliament Unconstitutional: Sri Lanka’s Court

A spokesman for Wickremesinghe said he was expected to form a Cabinet in the coming days, with priority given to the 2019 budget, without which foreign debt servicing may not be possible.

Sri Lanka had been braced for a government shutdown as parliament failed to approve spending for 2019, and ratings agencies downgraded the country’s credit rating amid fears of a sovereign debt default. (VOA)

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Sri Lanka Warns of Extreme Heat Amid Rising Temperatures

People in several areas in capital Colombo and in the south were warned to take extra precautions when being out in the heat

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Sri Lanka to convert garbage dumps into urban parks
This is a Sri Lankan flag. Sri Lanka to convert garbage dumps into urban parks. wikimedia commons
Sri Lanka’s Meteorology Department on Monday issued an extreme heat advisory as temperatures in several districts across the island country were expected to rise further in the coming days.
The Department, in a statement, cautioned the public to take appropriate precautions to avoid any health-related issues caused by the severe heat condition.
It said that the high level of moisture in the air and low wind speed had been the result of the rising temperatures, Xinhua news agency reported.
The Department warned that the situation would prevail until the beginning of the south-west monsoon in May.
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Image source: youtube.com
The Natural Hazards Early Warning Centre forecasted “extreme caution” levels for most parts of the Northern, North Central and the North Western provinces.
People in several areas in capital Colombo and in the south were warned to take extra precautions when being out in the heat.
“The Department advises the public to remain hydrated and take frequent breaks while also avoid going outside. Children and the elderly should also not be left unattended,” it said. (IANS)