Sri Lankan President Sirisena sacks Ranil Wickremesinghe, appoints Mahinda Rajapaksa as new prime minister

AFP Colombo, Sri Lanka Oct 26, 2018, 07.59 PM(IST)

File photo: Mahinda Rajapaksa. Photograph:( Getty )

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There was no immediate comment from Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe or his office.

President Maithripala Sirisena Friday sacked his Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and appointed former president Mahinda Rajapaksa as the new premier, the president's office said.

A private television network loyal to Rajapaksa televised him being sworn in as the new prime minister, replacing Wickremesinghe.

There was no immediate word from Wickremesinghe, who helped Sirisena win the January 2015 elections against Rajapakse.

The surprise move comes after disagreements between Sirisena and Wickremesinghe over economic policy and day-to-day administration of the government.

The pair were reported to have clashed in cabinet last week over government plans to lease a port terminal to neighbouring India.

Wickremesinghe's government came to power promising economic reforms and accountability for atrocities committed in Sri Lanka's bloody civil war during Rajapakse's presidency.