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Criticism follows Wickremesinghe's return to power in Sri Lanka

THE return to power of veteran Sri Lankan political leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has provoked strong criticism from opposition MPs and religious leaders.

Mr Wickremesinghe was handed a sixth term as prime minister by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa today after the president’s brother, Mahinda Rajapaksa, relinquished the post on Monday amid a political and economic crisis that has led to violent unrest.

Opposition MP Anura Dissanayake said the choice of Mr Wickremesinghe was more about protecting the president and his family from public anger over his role in the current economic crisis than solving the country’s problems.

When he was foreign minister from 2015 to 2019, Mr Wickremesinghe was accused of protecting Mr Rajapaksa’s powerful family from allegations of corruption and other wrongdoing.

Buddhist and Catholic clergy also voiced objections.

“This decision has been taken totally disregarding the aspirations of the people who are protesting today. The protests can only get worse by this decision,” said senior Buddhist monk Omalpe Sobitha.

Catholic Archbishop of Colombo Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith said that for Sri Lanka to move forward from the crisis, “we need a complete change of the system.”

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