Jayaratne sworn in as Sri Lankan Prime Minister


Colombo: Plantations Mini-ster D. M. Jayaratne, a close ally of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, was on April 21 sworn in as Prime Minister of Sri Lanka as the new Parliament was being   convened on April 22, for the first time.
Jayaratne, senior most leader of the ruling Freedom Party next only to Rajapaksa, has replaced Ratnasiri Wickrema-nayake, official sources said.
They said Jayartne was sworn in as Prime Minister by Rajapaksa hours after the appointment was made, they said.
The job of Prime Minister is largely ceremonial in Sri Lanka, but in the event of the president’s death, the holder would be expected to step in to the top role.
Jayaratne, 68,  was a contender for the top job and has been openly stating that he should be made the Prime Minister.
The ruling UPFA has won 144 seats in the 225-member assembly at the April 8 elections, falling short of two-thirds majority by six seats.
Jayaratne is a party stalwart, who became a Member of Parliament in 1970 after a career as a postman in the central district of Kandy.

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