Sri Lanka's President-elect Ranil Wickremesinghe mocked claims he was an old friend of the former president's family when questioned by Sky News.
— Sky News (@SkyNews) July 20, 2022
Sri Lanka’s president Ranil Wickremesinghe mocked a question from Sky News, as he claimed to not be a friend of the Rajapaksas and instead a “friend of the people”.
Wickremesinghe is a former Rajapaksa rival-turned-ally, after being appointed to the post of prime minister by Gotabaya Rajapaksa earlier this year.
When asked if, as an “old friend of the Rajapaksas”, whether he could be any different, Wickremesinghe smirked and shot back at Sky News.
“How am I an old friend of the Rajapaksas?” he said. “When did I know the Rajapaksas? I’ve been opposing them all this time. You come here today and tell me I am a friend.”
“I am not a friend of the Rajapaksas,” he continued. “I am a friend of the people.”
The new president also shot back at the Sky News journalist for questioning him, stating,
“But I must tell you one thing. As a journalist when you come here you must do your independent investigation. Don’t ask questions like this.”
Read the full transcript of the exchange below.
Q: The people say they want change. You are an old friend of the Rajapaksas, how can you be different?
A: How am I an old friend of the Rajapaksas? When did I know the Rajapaksas? I’ve been opposing them all this time. You come here today and tell me I am a friend.
Q: You’re not a friend of the Rajapkasas?
A: No, you ask any of them. Here, the Rajapaksa friends are there (gesturing towards former Foreign Minister, Dinesh Gunawardena).
Q: Can you be the change that Sri Lanka says it wants?
A: I will give the change that the people want. But I must tell you one thing. As a journalist when you come here you must do your independent investigation. Don’t ask questions like this.
Q: You’re not a friend of the Rajapaksas?
A: I am not a friend of the Rajapaksas. I am a friend of the people. And I have worked earlier with Mrs Kumaratunga. I never voted for her. She belonged to one party. I belonged to another party. For me to work with the president of another party does not mean I am his friend. It means that I am also looking at my opportunity of strengthening my party.