Is Ranil Running Out of Options?

Is Ranil Running Out of Options?

President Ranil Wickremesinghe has informed his cabinet that he will be contesting the upcoming presidential elections.

He has called for the support of his cabinet ministers for his campaign, which is expected to begin early next year. However, it is unclear how many members of the cabinet will support his candidacy.

The leader of the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), Sajith Premadasa, has made it clear that there is no possibility of an alliance between his party and Wickremesinghe’s United National Party (UNP). Previously, Premadasa was reportedly under pressure from his party members to consider an alliance with Wickremesinghe, but it now appears that he has successfully resisted this pressure. None of the SJB parliamentarians have moved to the UNP as speculated, leaving Wickremesinghe to manage affairs with only a few of his loyalists.

Meanwhile, a key figure within the Rajapaksa-led SLPP, Renuka Perera, has resigned from his position as Chairman of state-owned dairy producer and marketer MILCO. This resignation is a clear signal that the SLPP is distancing itself from Wickremesinghe. It now seems highly unlikely that Wickremesinghe will be the SLPP’s endorsed candidate for the presidency.

Meanwhile a key figure in the lotous grouping, Renuka Perera has tendered his resignation. He was the  Chairman of the state-owned dairy producer and marketer, MILCO. Understandably more resignations from Rajapaksha loyalists are on the way.

This is a clear signal that Mahinda Rajapaksha and the Lotus grouping are moving away from Ranil Wickramasigha. Now there is only very little room, for Rani Wckramasingha to be the candidate endorsed by the Lotus grouping

The approval rating of the government has fallen from 21% in June 2023 to just 9% in October 2023, according to the latest round of Verité Research’s Gallup-style ‘Mood of the Nation’ poll. In addition, several price hikes are expected to take effect in the coming year due to new taxation measures, which could further erode the government’s popularity.

In summary, Wickremesinghe’s presidential ambitions appear to be facing increasing headwinds, with the SLPP distancing itself from him, the SJB maintaining its stance of not allying, and the government’s approval ratings plummeting. The impending price hikes could further complicate his prospects.

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