Ranil Wickremesinghe, 73, was sworn in as Sri Lanka's 26th Prime Minister on Thursday. He said that he is looking forward to closer ties with India during his term. He also thanked India for helping the country as it tackles the economic crisis since independence.
"I want a closer relationship and I want to thank Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi," Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said, referring to the Indian economic assistance to his country.
Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said, "I want to settle this problem to ensure the supply of petrol, diesel, and electricity to the people. I will do the job that I have undertaken to do. I will talk to them (protesters) if they are willing. If I can undertake the job to handle the economic crisis, I will handle that too."
Who is Ranil Wickremesinghe?
Ranil Wickremesinghe is the leader of the United National Party since 1994. Earlier he served as Prime Minister of Sri Lanka from 1993 to 1994, 2001 to 2004, 2015 to 2018 and 2018 to 2019 and has served as Leader of the Opposition from 1994 to 2001 and from 2004 to 2015.
Ranil graduated from the University of Ceylon and qualified as an Advocate from the Ceylon Law College in 1972. He entered politics in the mid-1970s with the United National Party, he was first elected to Parliament from the Biyagama electorate in the 1977 parliamentary elections and was appointed Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, by his uncle President J. R. Jayewardene. He was later appointed Minister of Youth Affairs and Employment, becoming the youngest Cabinet Minister in Sri Lanka. In 1989, President Ranasinghe Premadasa, appointed Wickremesinghe as the Minister of Industry, Science and Technology and Leader of the House. He succeeded D. B. Wijetunga as Prime Minister in 1993 following the assassination of Premadasa and Wijetunga succession the presidency. He was appointed Leader of the Opposition in November 1994 following the assassination of Gamini Dissanayake during the campaign for the 1994 presidential election. On 8 January 2015, Wickremesinghe was appointed as prime minister by President Maithripala Sirisena, who had defeated President Mahinda Rajapaksa in the 2015 presidential election.