Sri Lanka’s prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has decided to resign, state-run Daily News reported, days after his party’s candidate lost the country’s bitterly contested presidential poll and allowing newly-elected president Gotabaya Rajapaksa to choose a replacement.
The Daily News didn’t say whether Wickremesinghe, who leads the United National Party and the ruling coalition, took the decision in order to facilitate newly elected president Rajapaksa to form his own government until parliamentary elections due after February 2020.
Wickremesinghe also has the option to ask lawmakers to vote to seek the dissolution of parliament in order to call early general elections.
Rajapaksa, representing the Sinhalese-Buddhist nationalist Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna party, won 52.3% of the vote, while the ruling alliance candidate Sajith Premadasa trailed with 42% at the final count in the poll. The 70-year-old’s brother, former strongman president Mahinda Rajapaksa, who enjoyed close ties with Beijing during his 10-year rule, is expected to take on the role of prime minister.