Sri Lanka Leader Names Opponent as PM in Push for Unity

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Ranil Wickremesinghe, a veteran lawmaker and former premier, has been named Sri Lanka’s next prime minister days after the last incumbent, the brother of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, resigned in the face of escalating anger with the deepening economic crisis, Bloomberg News reported. The president’s media unit confirmed the appointment Thursday in a text message. No other details were immediately available. The announcement may bring a modicum of stability to the country, which is on the verge of bankruptcy and needs a government to lead bailout talks with the International Monetary Fund. The country’s central bank chief has threatened to resign if political order isn’t restored urgently. The new appointment is “the only option for Sri Lanka,” said Ravi Karunanayake, a member of Wickremesinghe’s party and a former finance minister. “I think his appointment will calm down the protest although internally not everyone will be happy and there will be some who will have belly aches.” The new prime minister’s first priority “will be to restore supply of gas and fuel and then getting the economy back on track,” he added. Read more.
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