Wickremesinghe opens political office as he eyes Sri Lankan presidency

Colombo, Jun 6 (PTI) Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe on Thursday opened his political office here, signalling that he may contest the next presidential election scheduled to be held later this year.

The office opening in Colombo’s posh residential area of Flower Road at Cinnamon Gardens was graced by Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena and several senior ministers.

Wickremesinghe, 75, hasn’t made any public statement on his bid for re-election. Since mid-July 2022, he has been serving the balance term of the ousted president Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

The next presidential election is to take place between mid-September and mid-October.

Wickremesinghe, who was prime minister when Rajapaksa was ousted through public agitation on the streets which lasted months successfully steered the country through the economic crisis which was blamed on the rule by the Rajapaksa family.

Wickremesinghe, who is also the finance minister, ended queues for essentials, shortages, and long hours of power cuts and obtained a bailout from the IMF, the process for which was started during the last days of Rajapaksa.

Sri Lanka which secured USD 2.9 billion over a four-year programme from the IMF was helped until then by the generous Indian assistance worth USD 4 billion.

Wickremesinghe intends to contest as an independent candidate backed by all political parties who are bent on maintaining the economic reforms programme set in by him.

The other two main opposition leaders Sajith Premadasa and Anura Kumara Dissanayake from the Marxist JVP have already announced their candidacy.

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