Saturday, October 24, 2020 | ePaper

Mahinda Rajapaksa sworn in as Sri Lanka's PM after record victory

  • Print


Rajapaksa brothers gesture during the swearing in ceremony at Kelaniya Buddhist temple in Colombo.

Al Jazeera :
Former Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa has been sworn in as the country's prime minister for the fourth time after his party secured a landslide victory in parliamentary elections that cemented his family's hold on power.
Mahinda took oath on Sunday before his younger brother, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, at a prominent Buddhist temple on the outskirts of the capital Colombo.
Mahinda served as the island nation's president from 2005 to 2015 and is highly popular among the ethnic majority Sinhalese for ending the country's 25-year civil war with Tamil rebels in 2009.
He was first elected prime minister in 2004 and again appointed for brief periods in 2018 and 2019.
Sri Lanka People's Front, the party led by the Rajapaksa brothers, won 145 seats in the 225-member parliament in the election last Wednesday.
Its main opponent, the SJB, obtained 54 seats. A party representing ethnic minority Tamils won 10 seats, and 16 others were split among 12 small parties. The victory brought the Rajapaksa brothers very close to the two-thirds majority required to make constitutional changes that could strengthen dynastic rule in the country.
Five members of the Rajapaksa family have been elected as MPs.
In addition to the PM, his son Namal, the eldest brother Chamal and his son Sashindra, and a nephew, Nipuna Ranawaka, will be in Parliament.
The brothers need 150 seats to be able to change the constitution. At least four small parties collaborate with the Rajapaksas' party, so they appear to have mustered that support.
Leader of SLPP and PM Mahinda Rajapaksa
Sri Lanka had been ruled by powerful executive presidents since 1978. However, a 2015 constitutional amendment strengthened the parliament and prime minister and put independent commissions in charge of judiciary appointments, police, public services and the conduct of elections.
Gotabaya was elected president last November after projecting himself as the only leader who could secure the country after the bombings of churches and hotels on Easter Sunday that killed 269 people.
However, Mahinda is unlikely to cede any of his powers as he works on promoting his son Namal as heir.
Namal and three other members of the family are likely to control key functions in the new administration.
The landslide victory also raises fears of weakening government institutions such as independent commissions.
A man hangs newspapers carrying headlines about the victory of Mahinda Rajapaksa's Sri Lanka People's Front party in the country's parliamentary election in Colombo.

More News For this Category

Toxic algae blamed for mass marine death in Russia: Kamchatka

BBC Online :The mass death of sea creatures off the coast of Kamchatka in Russia's far east was most likely caused by toxic algae and not man-made factors, Russian

Chileans who voted out Pinochet in referendum turn focus to his Constitution

Chileans who voted out Pinochet in referendum turn focus to his Constitution

Reuters, Santiago :Chileans will go to the polls on Sunday to vote on whether they want to swap a constitution written during the Pinochet dictatorship in favor of a

Erdogan says Turkey tested Russian S-400s, shrugs off US reaction

Erdogan says Turkey tested Russian S-400s, shrugs off US reaction

Reuters, Ankara :Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan confirmed on Friday that Turkey had been testing the S-400 air defense system it bought from Russia, adding that the objection from NATO

Xi says China not afraid of war in speech to mark Korean War

Xi says China not afraid of war in speech to mark Korean War

Al Jazeera News :President Xi Jinping warned on Friday that China was not afraid of war and would never allow its sovereignty, security and development interests to be undermined,

Europe daily coronavirus cases double in 10 days Reports 200,000 daily cases for the first time

Europe daily coronavirus cases double in 10 days Reports 200,000 daily cases for the first time

Reuters :Europe's reported coronavirus cases more than doubled in 10 days, crossing 200,000 daily infections for the first time on Thursday, according to a Reuters tally, with many Southern

Afghan air raid kills at least 12 in mosque

Al Jazeera News :An Afghan military air raid targeting Taliban fighters has killed at least 12 people, including children, and wounded 14 in an attack that hit a religious

Refugees allege physical, sexual abuse by Croatian authorities

Refugees allege physical, sexual abuse by Croatian authorities

Al Jazeera News :Refugees and migrants have sustained "severe injuries" after having allegedly been whipped, beaten and sexually abused at the hands of Croatian authorities during their attempts

India, US set for military pact on satellite data during Pompeo visit

India, US set for military pact on satellite data during Pompeo visit

Reuters, New Delhi :India is closing in on an agreement with the United States that will give it access to satellite data for better accuracy of missiles and drones,

Spain first European nation to top 1 million Covid-19 cases

Spain first European nation to top 1 million Covid-19 cases

Reuters, Madrid :Spain became the first Western European country to exceed 1 million COVID-19 infections on Wednesday, doubling its tally in just six weeks despite a series of increasingly

5 South Koreans die after getting flu shots, sparking vaccine fears

5 South Koreans die after getting flu shots, sparking vaccine fears

Reuters, Seoul :Five people have died after getting flu shots in South Korea in the past week, authorities said, raising concerns over the vaccine's safety just as the seasonal inoculation