SRILANKA (AP) — Five-time former Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was reappointed Thursday in an effort to bring stability to the island nation, engulfed in a political and economic crisis.
Wickremesinghe, a contentious choice by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, took his oath in a ceremony at the president’s residence. Protesters have blocked the entrance to the president’s office for more than a month.
The president’s brother, Mahinda Rajakapsa, resigned as prime minister on Monday following violent attacks by supporters on peaceful anti-government protesters. His resignation automatically dissolved the Cabinet, leaving an administrative vacuum.
The president’s selection of Wickremesinghe is an attempt to end violence triggered by the crisis and restore international credibility as the government negotiates a bailout package with the International Monetary Fund.
On Wednesday, authorities deployed armored vehicles and troops in the streets of the capital after attacks on protesters triggered a wave of violence across the country. Nine people died and more than 200 were injured.
Security forces have been ordered to shoot people deemed to be participating in the violence, as sporadic acts of arson and vandalism continue despite a strict nationwide curfew that began Monday evening.