Dinesh Gunawardene, a senior leader and close relative of the Rajapaksa family, was appointed as the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka on Friday. 18 members of the Cabinet, including the Prime Minister, were sworn in on Friday. Apart from Prime Minister Gunawardena, there are 17 other ministers in the Cabinet. Former Finance Minister Ali Sabri has been appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Members of Parliament on Wednesday elected Ranil Wickremesinghe as the President after Gotabaya Rajapakse had to resign due to an outpouring of public discontent.
After the 73-year-old Wickremesinghe became the President, the post of Prime Minister became vacant. Gunawardena's 'MEP party was the first to participate in the ruling alliance in 1956. Gunawardene entered Parliament after winning the seat of Maharagama, a suburb of Colombo, in 1983 and served as the main opposition leader until 1994. Gunawardena joined the Cabinet for the first time in 2000. He held important accounts in the Cabinet till 2015. Gunawardene's wife has passed away. His son is a Member of Parliament.
The new Prime Minister and his party:
73-year-old Dinesh Gunawardene was given the post of Home Minister in April during the tenure of former President Gotabaya Rajapakse. He has also been appointed Minister of External Affairs and Minister of Education. Gunawardene is the leader of Mahajan Eksaath Peramuna (MEP). His party is an ally of the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP). Born in 1949, Gunawardene succeeded his father, Philip Gunawardene as the party leader after returning in 1979 after completing his higher education in the Netherlands. His father was a prominent face of the left socialist movement during the British period before the country's independence.