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Four ministers selected from the president’s party: Sri Lanka

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(Bloomberg) – Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa appointed four new ministers from his party on Saturday. New Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had said he would show his majority in parliament next week, but Rajapaksa’s appointee’s task is fraught with obstacles, with the opposition and others saying they will not accept any position within the firm.

The main opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya has said it will not join a so-called unity government. Sri Lanka’s Freedom Party, once allied to Rajapaksa’s government but now independent, has also said it will not take on any role in the cabinet, according to a news report indicating that more political uncertainty may lie ahead. . On Saturday, four cabinet ministers were reappointed, although a finance minister has yet to be chosen.

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The new Prime Minister’s United National Party did not win a single seat in the 2020 elections, which brought the Rajapaksas back to power, but he was able to return as legislator in 2021 thanks to a system where parties with enough votes can appoint a member under the “national list”. He can only prove his majority with the support of Rajapaksa’s ruling alliance.

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President appoints four Cabinet ministers (3:20 p.m. Saturday)

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President Rajapaksa on Saturday reappointed four ministers from the last cabinet, continuing with GL Peiris as foreign minister, Dinesh Gunawardena as public administration minister, Kanchana Wijesekera as head of the power and energy ministry and Prasanna Ranatunga as Minister of Urban Development and Housing. The new nominees are all from Rajapaksa’s party.

A finance minister, crucial to continuing negotiations with the International Monetary Fund for a rescue plan, has not yet been chosen.

Wickremesinghe meets envoys for financial support (6:35 p.m.)

The prime minister has started talks about forming an overseas consortium for financial assistance, according to a statement from his media service. Envoys from India and Japan pledged continued assistance to help stabilize the island nation’s economy and garner support from other foreign nations. The Chinese ambassador also ensured the continuation and review of the assistance, while Wickremesinghe had hinted at the constitutional reforms promised by the president, during a meeting with the American envoy.

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Stocks Soar on News of Political Stability (1:30 p.m.)

Sri Lankan stocks surged for a second day as the appointment of the new prime minister was seen as a step towards political stability.

The Colombo All-Share Index jumped 4.4% and was Asia’s best performing key indicator on Friday. For the week, which saw just three days of trading, the gauge advanced 9%, its biggest weekly gain since January 2021, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Still, market players remain cautious as the prime minister must assemble a cabinet of ministers and take steps to quell public anger. Weak foreign exchange reserves, a potential delay in negotiations with the IMF for financial assistance and rising interest rates remain the main risks to market sentiment, they say.

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The main opposition will not join the government (1:00 p.m.)

The main opposition party told a press conference in Colombo that its lawmakers would not join the new government.

“We tell you that we will not take any portfolio in Ranil Wickremesinghe’s government,” said Ranjith Madduma Bandara, the general secretary of the Samagi Jana Balawegaya party.

Rajapaksa tells opposition leader his bid for prime minister came late (9:44 p.m.)

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa told opposition leader Sajith Premadasa that his offer to form a government on several conditions came too late, local media reported, citing a letter.

As Premadasa rejected an earlier offer, Rajapaksa said he decided to appoint Ranil Wickremesinghe as prime minister instead. Premdasa also had conditions that were not accepted by other party leaders.

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Wickremesinghe says no decision has been made on Cabinet (8:35 p.m.)

The new minister said he planned to show his majority in parliament, local media reported. The next session is scheduled for May 17. He said no decision had been made on the size of the cabinet, although there were reports that some ministers could be sworn in as early as Friday.

Wickremesinghe also said protests against President Gotabaya Rajapaksa could continue and promised that the police would not crack down. A nationwide curfew was lifted at 6 a.m. for a few hours.

India hopes for political stability with new prime minister (7:35 p.m.)

The Indian High Commission said it looked forward to working with a Sri Lankan government formed in accordance with democratic processes. The new prime minister also thanked India for the help it has given the country.

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“We need help from the Indian government,” said Wickremesinghe. “I have to thank Prime Minister Modi.”

US Ambassador Looks Forward to Working With New Prime Minister (6:55 p.m.)

US envoy to Sri Lanka Julie Chung said the rapid formation of an inclusive government was a first step towards resolving the crisis and promoting stability.

Sri Lanka names longtime MP Wickremesinghe as new prime minister (6:41 p.m.)

Ranil Wickremesinghe, a veteran lawmaker and former prime minister, has been named Sri Lanka’s next prime minister, days after the last incumbent resigned amid mounting anger over the worsening economic crisis.

He was sworn in in a private ceremony by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Opposition leader agrees to be prime minister (2:47 p.m.)

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Sajith Premadasa, the leader of the main opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya party, told a press conference in Colombo that he had written to President Rajapaksa to inform him that he was ready to assume the role of prime minister and form an interim government.

Premadasa had previously rejected several overtures from Rajapaksa. Among his conditions to become Prime Minister are the end of the executive presidency and the resignation of Rajapaksa within a given deadline.

Court orders travel ban for many ruling party MPs (2:00 p.m.)

A magistrate has banned 13 members of Sri Lanka’s ruling party Podujana Peramuna of Rajapaksa, including former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, from traveling abroad, local news site Newswire reported, citing sources. anonymous.

It also includes Mahinda’s son and former cabinet member Namal Rajapaksa. The court granted a request by the Sri Lanka Bar Association and protesters who were attacked by government supporters during Monday’s violence, the report added.

Namal Rajapaksa tweeted to say he would cooperate with any investigation into the violence.

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