As Sri Lanka continues to reel under a historic economic meltdown, inflaming public outrage, several lawmakers and religious leaders opposed United National Party (UNP) leader Ranil Wickremesinghe's appointment as the new Chief Minister of the island nation, pushing for the end of the Rajapaksa government.
Decrying Wickremesinghe's appointment as a 'political deal', opposition MP Harsha de Silva stated that the people want "a new system that will safeguard their future", Deccan Herald reported.
Silva reportedly added that he would support the "people's struggle" to depose President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, and would not settle for any other deal.
The 73-year-old leader was administered the oath of office by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Thursday, 12 May, after erstwhile PM Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned from his post.
Ahead of the appointment, Prominent Buddhist monk Omalpe Sobitha Thero also opposed Wickremesinghe as PM, saying that the people were agitating for something else.
He added that he was 'not suitable' for the job, and his appointment was aimed at the “sole protection” of the Rajapaksas, The Hindu reported.
"The appointment of Ranil Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister is pure disregard of the request made by the Mahanayake Theros to appoint an all-party interim government," he reportedly added in a press conference.
Archbishop of Colombo Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, meanwhile, added that people needed "person with integrity, not someone who has been defeated in politics.”
'Rajapaksas Protect Ranil': Opposition Leader
Opposition political parties also voiced the disapproval of the move, with leftist Janata Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake saying,
“Ranil protects the Rajapaksas, and the Rajapaksas protect Ranil. No citizen in this country will fall for their conspiracy this time.”Anura Kumara Dissanayake, as per The Hindu
Meanwhile, Tamil National Alliance lawmaker MA Sumanthiran pushed for the President's resignation, saying that he had 'completely lost legitimacy' and the parliament would soon vote to express their dissatisfaction with him.
“Wickremesinghe had no legitimacy in the current Parliament right from the beginning. He did not even win in his constituency," he added.
(With inputs from Deccan Herald and The Hindu.)