Sri Lanka’s ruling siblings: New president swears in his brother as PM

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COLOMBO (Information) – Sri Lanka’s newly elected president Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Thursday swore in his elder brother, former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, as prime minister, cementing the highly effective household’s political comeback.

Sri Lanka’s President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his brother and former chief Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was appointed as the brand new Prime Minister, gesture in the course of the swearing in ceremony in Colombo, Sri Lanka November 21, 2019. Information/Dinuka Liyanawatte

The appointment of Mahinda Rajapaksa, 74, got here hours after the previous premier Ranil Wickremesinghe tendered his resignation following the defeat of his get together’s candidate in a presidential election to Gotabaya Rajapaksa over the weekend.

It’s the first time in Sri Lankan historical past that two siblings have held the 2 high political positions, though Mahinda is simply accountable for a caretaker authorities till parliamentary elections subsequent yr.

In a ceremony within the capital Colombo on Thursday, Gotabaya swore in his brother as their respective wives, sons and daughters-in-law seemed on.

“I want to congratulate and prolong my warmest needs to Hon Mahinda Rajapaksa, Prime Minister of the Democratic, Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka,” Gotabaya tweeted afterwards.

Gotabaya, 70, had earlier served as protection chief underneath his brother Mahinda, who himself served as president from 2005-2015.

Mahinda, who had been Sri Lanka’s opposition chief since January, has held the prime minister’s publish twice earlier than.

He’s set to be his get together’s candidate in a parliamentary election anticipated round April. The previous president, standard with the Sinhalese majority for overseeing the tip of a 26-year lengthy civil battle, is broadly seen as a shoo-in.

“The Rajapaksa model, as evidenced by the election, stays extraordinarily robust,” stated Akhil Bery, Eurasia’s South Asia analyst, including that Mahinda is perceived to be much more standard than his youthful brother.

The siblings face a tall order to revive Sri Lanka’s economic system, which is in its deepest droop in practically 20 years following Easter Sunday Islamist assaults that killed over 250 individuals in church buildings and accommodations. That damage the rupee and the all-important tourism sector.

Gotabaya, who oversaw the defeat of Tamil separatists as his brother’s protection chief a decade in the past, gained the election after promising to safe the nation towards militant threats.

His financial manifesto targets common development of a minimum of 6.5%, in contrast with three.2% in 2018, however economists are fearful his plans could pressure coffers. Managing a report $three billion in annual exterior debt repayments over the subsequent 5 years will likely be one other problem.

Some buyers see Rajapaksa as an skilled hand who will carry political stability to the island. Sri Lanka’s inventory index and rupee forex have gained 1.9% and zero.5% respectively since his election.

Rights teams and minorities, nevertheless, accuse the Rajapaksas of human rights violations in the course of the battle and have expressed considerations of renewed ethnic tensions following the elections.

The brothers have denied wrongdoing.

Reporting by Shihar Aneez; Modifying by Alexandra Ulmer