Veteran politician Ranil Wickremesinghe was sworn in as the new prime minister of Sri Lanka after Mahinda Rajapaksa vacated the office this month. He has assumed office at a time when the island nation is grappling with a severe and unprecedented economic and political crisis. Rajapaksa stepped down on May 9 hours after his supporters of him clashed with anti-governmental demonstrators.
Wickremesinghe has been appointed as the Prime Minister of the forex-starved country for the sixth time. The 73-year-old belongs to an elite family. His maternal grandfather of him published newspapers supporting the independence movement of Sri Lanka while his paternal grandfather of him served as the most senior colonial government servant.
Ranil Wickremesinghe’s Educational Background
Born in 1949, Wickremesinghe completed his primary and secondary education from the Royal Preparatory School and Royal College in the capital city of Colombo. He then went to the University of Colombo, earlier known as University of Ceylon, and got a degree in law. After graduating in law, he took his oath as an advocate of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka in 1972 and practiced as a lawyer for five years.
Wickremesinghe has been a Robert E Wilhelm Fellow at the Center for International Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He also received an honorary doctorate from the Deakin University, Australia in 2017 for “for significant contributions in reforms in economy, education and human rights.”
In addition, the PM has served as (ex officio) Vice Chair of the International Democratic Union since 2005. Wickremesinghe was also appointed the chair of the Asia Pacific Democratic Union.
Ranil Wickremesinghe’s Early Political Career
Wickremesinghe was first appointed as the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka for the first time in 1993. He assumed office after the assassination of the then president of Sri Lanka Ranasinghe Premadasa. After serving till 1994, Wickremesinghe was again appointed as the PM in 2000 under the presidency of Chandrika Bandaranaike. He ran for president in 2005 but narrowly lost to Mahinda Rajapaksa after falling short of approximately 150,000 votes.
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