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Rajapaksa quits as Lanka PM; Sirisena to appoint Ranil again

Rajapaksa quits as Lanka PM; Sirisena to appoint Ranil again
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Colombo: After clinging on to power for nearly two months, Sri Lanka's ex-strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was appointed Prime Minister by President Maithripala Sirisena in a controversial move, resigned on Saturday to end the political turmoil and pave way for the return of ousted premier Ranil Wickremesinghe. The 73-year-old ex-president signed a letter of resignation during a multi-religious service at his home here that was attended by several lawmakers of United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA), Buddhist and other religious leaders.

Sirisena has also agreed to reinstate Wickremesinghe on Sunday despite previously insisting that he would never reappoint him as Prime Minister. Rajapaksa resigned after two crucial Supreme Court decisions made the embattled former strongman's efforts to cling to premiership untenable.

He was appointed as Prime Minister on October 26 by President Sirisena in a controversial move after sacking Wickremesinghe, which plunged the country into an unprecedented constitutional crisis. Wickremesinghe had refused to step down asserting that his sacking was illegal.

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