Colombo, Nov 20 (IANS): Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Wednesday announced his resignation, clearing the way for new President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to appoint a replacement of his choice and a new government.
His resignation comes after opposition Presidential candidate Rajapaksa was elected President in the just concluded Presidential election.
Rajapaksa has already indicated he will appoint a 15-member caretaker cabinet till the Parliamentary election.
Several members of the cabinet have already resigned in order to allow the new President to appoint a caretaker cabinet till the Parliamentary election.
Under the Sri Lankan Constitution, the Prime Minister can remain in office till the next parliamentary election.
However following pressure from within his own party, Wickremesinghe decided to step down.
The parliamentary election is scheduled to be held in April next year.
Wickremesinghe was appointed Prime Minister in January 2015 after then President Maithripala Sirisena won the 2015 Presidential election, Colombo Gazette reported.
Rajapaksa of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) won the presidential election by a sizable margin in last Saturday’s vote, defeating former housing minister Sajith Premadasa, the candidate of Wickremesinghe’s United National Party (UNP)-led coalition.
Soon after Wickremesinghe’s party lost the election at least 10 of his senior ministers, including finance minister Mangala Samaraweera, resigned.