Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was appointed as Finance Minister of the debt-ridden country on May 25 by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, an official statement said. Mr. Wickremesinghe, 73 was sworn in as the Minister of Finance, Economic Stability and National Policies.
The five-time Prime Minister was re-appointed to the job on May 12 following the political circus precipitated by the unprecedented economic crisis in the island’s history. He replaced Mahinda Rajapaksa who resigned to make way for his brother’s plan to appoint an all-party interim government to handle the economic crisis.
Mr. Wickremesinghe’s office said during the two weeks he had been at the helm. He re-established the island’s foreign relations, took steps for constitutional reform with the draft of the 21 amendments to the constitution, ensured fuel supplies and has been making preparations for an interim budget.
Mr. Wickremesinghe with just his seat in the 225-member Assembly relies on all political parties to support him in his immediate task of reviving the ailing economy. Sri Lanka declared bankruptcy in mid-April saying it was unable to meet its international debt payments this year.
President Rajapaksa on May 20 expanded the Cabinet to include nine Ministers, but did not appoint a Finance Minister. Ministers of a few portfolios including education, ports and shipping, health, justice, trade were sworn in. For the second time, on May 23, Mr. Rajapaksa expanded the Cabinet by inducting eight more Ministers but even this time he did not appoint a Finance Minister. The new Ministers inducted during the second time of the Cabinet expansion belong to the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna and its allies — the SLFP and the EPDP, a Tamil minority party in the north.