Sri Lanka get hawkish PM

Sri Lanka’s new president Monday appointed a hard-line nationalist as his prime minister, but delayed naming a new cabinet of ministers, a government spokesman said. Sri Lanka’s new president Monday appointed a hard-line nationalist as his prime minister, but delayed naming a new cabinet of ministers, a government spokesman said. Rajapakse, 60, who was sworn in Saturday as president, dropped previous plans to give the premiership to foreign minister Anura Bandaranaike, the brother of former president Chandrika Kumaratunga, an official said.

Instead, Ratnasiri Wickremanayake, 73, was named for the largely ceremonial post, spokesman Anusha Pelpita said. “Mr. Wickremanayake has taken his oaths as the new prime minister,” he said.

However, he said previous plans to have a cabinet of ministers also appointed at the same time had been shelved.

“The cabinet will be sworn in either later today or tomorrow,” he said.

Wickremanayake was prime minister under Kumaratunga briefly from 2000 to 2001 and was interior minister in the former government of president Kumaratunga.

He was also the minister of Buddhist affairs and is seen as an ultra nationali