Sri Lankan president appoints fellow hardliner as PM

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Monday, November 21, 2005

The recently elected president of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapakse, has upset some with the appointment of a fellow hardliner, Ratnasiri Wickremanayake, as the country's Prime Minister. The Sinhala nationalist, Mr. Wicremanayake, is a former holder of the post during Chandrika Kumaratunga's presidency in 2000 and 2001.

Most noticeably hit by the news were the country's stock markets. Markets in Colombo fell 7% on the news, having fallen by the same amount last Friday when Mr. Rajapaskse's election result was announced.

Mr. Rajapakse was elected as the President on an anti Tamil Tiger platform. He formed an alliance with two Sinhala Buddhist extremist parties, JVP and JMU. Civil war in the country between the majority and the Tamil population is claimed to have led to over 65,000 deaths since 1983.