SLanka protests to continue as new PM struggles to form gov’t


COLOMBO: Appointment of a new prime minister in Sri Lanka has failed to appease anti-government protesters demanding resignation of president for country’s disastrous economic crisis.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa appointed veteran opposition politician Ranil Wickremesinghe as island nation’s prime minister after a week of violent clashes in which nine people were killed and more than 300 injured.

President’s elder brother, Mahinda Rajapaksa quit as prime minister as violence spiralled and is in hiding in a military base. Huge public demonstrations have for weeks condemned President Rajapaksa over his administration’s mismanagement of worst economic crisis to hit nation since it became independent in 1948. “Whoever they appoint as prime minister, we will not stop this struggle until people get relief.”

Wickremesinghe is only legislator from his United National Party in country’s parliament and will be reliant on rival political parties to form a government. An alliance led by Rajapaksas holds about 100 of parliament’s 225 seats, while opposition has 58 seats. Rest are independent.

“People are not asking for political games and deals, they want a new system that will safeguard their future,” he said in a statement.–Agencies