Sri Lanka’s new President names brother Mahinda Rajapaksa as Prime Minister

Sri Lanka’s new President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Wednesday named his brother Mahinda as Prime Minister.

Mahinda, a two-term president himself, is due to be sworn in as premier on Thursday following the resignation of Ranil Wickremesinghe after his party suffered a humiliating defeat at the weekend’s presidential polls.

The Rajapaksa brothers are credited with crushing the Tamil Tigers a decade ago.

“Prime Minister Rajapaksa will have his cabinet appointed shortly after taking his oath of office,” said spokesman Vijayananda Herath.

Gotabaya was defence secretary under Mahinda during his decade as president which ended in January 2015.

With the older Rajapaksa taking over as prime minister, Sri Lanka will for the first time have two brothers at the helm.

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe formally announced his resignation Wednesday clearing the way for the Rajapaksa to form a minority government ahead of possible snap elections early next year.

“Although we enjoy a parliamentary majority, we respect the mandate received by Mr. Rajapaksa and we have decided to allow him to form a new government,” Wickremesinghe said in an address to the nation.

Wickremesinghe, 70, said he informed the new president about quitting Thursday, allowing a new minority government to be formed.