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Rajapaksa Sworn in as Sri Lankas PM, Cementing Family Rule

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka—Former Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa was sworn in as the prime minister for the fourth time on Aug. 9 after his party secured a landslide victory in parliamentary elections that cemented his familys hold on power.

Rajapaksa took the oath before his younger brother, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, at a prominent Buddhist temple on the outskirts of the capital Colombo.

Mahinda Rajapaksa served as the island nations president from 2005 to 2015 and is highly popular among the ethnic majority Sinhalese for ending the countrys 25-year civil war against Tamil rebels in 2009.

He was first elected prime minister in 2004 and again appointed for brief periods in 2018 and 2019.

Sri Lanka Peoples Front—the party led by the Rajapaksa brothers—won 145 seats in the 225-member Parliament in the election on Aug. 5. Its main opponent obtained only 54 seats. A party representing ethnic minority Tamils won 10 seats, and 16 others were split among 12 small parties.

The victory gave the Rajapaksa brothers nearly the two-third majority of seats required to make constitutional changes that could strengthen dynastic rule in the country.

This time, five members of the Rajapaksa family have been elected as lawmakers— Rajapaksa, his son Namal, the eldest brother Chamal and his son Sashindra, and a nephew, Nipuna Ranawaka.

The brothers need 150 seats to be able to change the constitution. At least four small parties collaborate with the Rajapaksas party, so they appear to have mustered that support.

However, analysts say any attempt by Gotabaya Rajapaksa to push for changes that will strengthen presidential powers at the expense of the prime minister may trigger sibling rivalry.

Sri Lanka had been ruled by powerful executive presidents since 1978. But a 2015 constitutional amendment strengthened Parliament and the prime minister and put independent commissions in charge of judiciary appointments, police, public services, and the conduct of elections.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa was elected president inRead More – Source

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