Colombo: Sri Lanka woke up to political uncertainty on Saturday (October 27) after former president Mahinda Rajapaksa was sworn in, although ousted Ranil Wickremesinghe told a local television station he was still the prime minister according to the constitution.
Rajapaksa’s supporters celebrated on hearing the news late on Friday (October 26) as the new prime minister visited a Buddhist temple after the swearing-in ceremony. On the streets, opinions were mixed over the return of pro-china Rajapaksa to politics. As president, he ushered in billions of dollars of investment from Beijing to help rebuild the country following the end of a 26-year-long civil war against Tamil separatists in 2009. But that investment has since put the island nation deep in debt and forced it to hand over control of a strategic southern port to China – seen as part of Beijing’s belt and road initiative – drawing criticism from India and the united states.
Following months of infighting, president Maithripala Sirisena administered the oath of office to Rajapaksa after sacking premier Wickremesinghe, who was away touring the south of the country.
Video: New prime minister Mahinda Rajapakse at Buddhist temple, supporters celebrating, soundbites from supporters and Colombo residents, ousted prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe saying he is still the prime minister, newspapers.