Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe looks set to lose his job after next week’s presidential election, with the two leading candidates declaring yesterday they will dump him.
Main opposition candidate Gotabhaya Rajapakse and Sajith Premadasa from Wickremesinghe’s ruling United National Party (UNP) are in a close race ahead of the November 16 polls and both said they would appoint their own PMs if they win.
“I will appoint a new prime minister who can command the majority of parliament,” Premadasa, 52, said in a televised address yesterday.
His remarks appeared to seal the fate of Wickremesinghe, 70, who is nominally the leader of the UNP but faces a revolt within the ranks of the party hierarchy.
Rajapakse earlier also vowed to replace Wickremesinghe -- who has been plagued by accusations of cronyism and incompetence amid his failure to prosecute politicians accused of corruption -- with his brother Mahinda.
Rajapakse is a former secretary to the defence ministry between 2005 and 2015 when his brother was president. Under a recent constitutional amendment, the office of prime minister was given extensive powers to decide on cabinet appointments and to run the day-to-day affairs of the government.