Sri Lanka Reinstates Ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe

| December 16 , 2018 , 14:29 IST

Sri Lanka’s sacked prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was reinstated on Sunday, his party stated, ending a 51-day crisis that had paralysed the island nation and pushed it towards a debt default.

Wickremesinghe, 69, was administered the oath of office by President Maithripala Sirisena, who had sacked him on October 26 in a controversial move.

Large crowds of supporters and well-wishers gathered at Temple Trees to welcome him back to the office.

Ranil Wickremesinghe took to his Twitter account to thank his supporters.

Rajapakse who was seated as prime minister by President Sirisena backed down from his post on Saturday, signalling the 51-day standoff had come to a bitter close.

Throughout the crisis, the ousted premier Wickremesinghe had long asserted his dismissal was illegal.

The Supreme Court also confirmed that Rajapakse could not exercise the powers of a prime minister until he proved his legitimacy - which without enough support in parliament was impossible.

According to media reports, a spokesman for Wickremesinghe said he was expected to form a Cabinet in the coming days, with priority given to the 2019 budget, without which foreign debt servicing may not be possible.

Sri Lanka had drifted without a functioning government for almost two months because the rival factions jostled for energy in parliament and the courts.