COLOMBO: Ranil Wickremesinghe will return as Sri Lankan prime minister on Sunday, a lawmaker from his party and an official at the president`s office said, likely ending a political crisis that began in late October when he was surprisingly ousted.
Wickremesinghe`s comeback is an embarrassment for President Maithripala Sirisena, who replaced him with former president Mahinda Rajapaksa following differences over policy making and other issues. However, Rajapaksa failed to win a parliamentary majority and resigned on Saturday as a government shutdown loomed.
"He will take the oath at an auspicious time today," Rajitha Senaratne, a Cabinet spokesman under Wickremesinghe`s former government, told Reuters.
An official at the president`s office confirmed that Wickremesinghe would be sworn in, which should help achieve parliamentary approval for a temporary budget that is required by Jan. 1.
The South Asian island country`s parliament voted to cut the budget for Rajapaksa and his ministers after Sirisena refused to accept no-confidence votes against Rajapaksa, saying that due process was not followed.
Parliament has already passed a confidence vote in Wickremesinghe while it sought his reinstatement as prime minister to defuse a constitutional crisis.
On Friday, Sri Lanka`s Supreme Court rejected Rajapaksa`s bid for an injunction against a lower court`s order that barred him and his Cabinet from performing their roles.
Many foreign countries refused to recognise Rajapaksa`s government. Credit rating agencies Fitch and Standard & Poor`s downgraded Sri Lanka, citing refinancing risks and an uncertain policy outlook.
Sirisena came to power in 2015 on a pledge to uphold democracy and stamp out corruption. However, his popularity has been hit by a crisis many say he triggered because of personal differences with Wickremesinghe.