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Mahinda Rajapaksa sworn in as Sri Lanka’s prime minister

Mahinda Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka’s former president, has been sworn in as the new prime minister this morning, just days after his brother Gotabaya was appointed as president.

This marks the first time on the island’s history that brothers from one family have occupied the two highest offices of state.

Both men stand accused of overseeing war crimes, during a 2009 military offensive that saw hospitals bombed and tens of thousands of Tamil civilians killed. Mahinda Rajapaksa was president at the time, whilst Gotabaya was the secretary of defence. 

“I’m honoured to have taken oaths as Sri Lanka’s new Prime Minister,” Rajapaksa tweeted after the ceremony. “I look forward to serving all Sri Lankans as we take our country forward with a new vision to further develop and protect it for future generations.”

Senior positions of Sri Lanka’s government and military are now being filled with individuals accused of overseeing or directly ordering human rights abuses. Sri Lanka's former president Maithripala Sirisena and former prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe were present at the swearing in ceremony this morning.

On Wednesday, Wickremesinghe announced he would be stepping down from the post of prime minister, following his party’s resounding defeat at this weekend’s presidential elections