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Mahinda Rajapaksa assumes charge as Sri Lanka’s premier

Ruling party won landslide victory in general elections last week

Riyaz ul Khaliq  | 12.08.2020 - Update : 12.08.2020
Mahinda Rajapaksa assumes charge as Sri Lanka’s premier


Mahinda Rajapaksa assumed charge as Sri Lanka’s prime minister on Wednesday after appointment of the new Cabinet.

He was sworn-in on Sunday after the Rajapaksa brothers’ party won the country’s general elections with landslide victory last week, Daily Mirror reported.

Mahinda Rajapaksa was sworn-in by his brother and the country’s President Gotabaya Rajapaksa for the fourth time as prime minister. Sri Lanka has had 14 prime ministers since the position was first created in 1947.

Mahinda-led Cabinet -- 28 ministries and 40 deputy ministries -- is expected to hold its first meeting today to discuss proposals for constitutional changes and the new budget.

Sri Lanka has a semi-presidential government system where both president and prime minister have executive authority.

In the new government, the president will hold portfolio of defense while the prime minister will hold portfolios of finance, Buddha Sasana, religious and cultural affairs and urban development and housing.

Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna party -- led by Rajapaksas -- won 145 of the 225 seats in the Sinhalese parliament.

The party secured nearly 60%, or over 6.85 million, of the total valid votes, well ahead of the Samagi Jana Balawegaya party that came in second with 54 seats.

Voting to the general election was held last Wednesday to elect lawmakers for Sri Lanka’s ninth parliament.

According to the election commission, the voter turnout was 71% and there was no violent incident at any of the 12,985 polling stations across the country.

The result gives more power to the Rajapaksa family, with Gotabaya Rajapaksa having won the presidential elections last November.

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