Mahinda Rajapaksa, the newly-appointed Sri Lankan Prime Minister, called for the rejection of hate in politics and vowed to protect human rights as well as the interests of his country on Sunday.

He also drew attention to a plot to assassinate Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena adding that criminal underworld is on the rise in the island nation.

“Today, our country is in a state of uncertainty. Details of a plot to assassinate the President and the former Defence Secretary have come to light. Those involved in this conspiracy are being exposed by their own actions. A wave of crime has hit the country and the criminal underworld is on the rise,” he said in a statement issued to the press on 28 October.

Stating that he was fully aware of the “national peril”, Rajapaksa said that he accepted the invitation to become PM with a view to eschew the politics of hate and set up an interim government that will protect the human rights of all citizens and judiciary.

“I invite all political parties represented in Parliament to join us in this endeavour. I also invite the people of all communities and religions – Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Christians and the followers of Islam to participate in this very necessary political exercise,” Rajapaksa, a former President of the country, said.

Underlining the economic crisis in the country, the 72-year-old Rajapaksa accused the UNP, a party which was in government through an alliance with UPFA, for corruption. The UNP-UPFA government came to an end as the result of the UPFA leaving the coalition.

Both Rajapaksa and Maithripala Sirisena are members of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party of which the Sri Lankan President is the chief.

Rajapaksa said that the primary objective of those who have backed him is to immediately hold the Provincial Councils elections that had been postponed continuously and also to call a Parliamentary election as soon as possible.

Rajapaksa was appointed as the nation’s new Prime Minister by Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena on Friday night, shocking “ousted” leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and his UNP.

The President, in a letter sent to Wickremesinghe said he had been removed after the Sirisena-led United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) quit the national coalition government.

Wickremesinghe called the move “illegal” and said a Prime Minister could only be sacked if he loses a no-confidence motion in Parliament. He vowed to continue on the post and called for Parliament to convene to prove his majority.

Soon after his appointment, China’s Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Cheng Xueyuan, called on Rajapaksa to convey congratulatory wishes from Chinese President Xi Jinping. The new Sri Lankan PM had tweeted a photo of him shaking hands with the Chinese Ambassador on Saturday.