Tuesday 27th February 2024

Ranil Wickremesinghe is elected as president by the Sri Lankan parliament

Published on : 20 July, 2022 3:05 pm

In a decision that is certain to enrage protesters who have been calling for his removal from office for weeks, Sri Lankan parliament elected former prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as president on Wednesday.

After months of widespread protests, Mr. Wickremesinghe must restore public order and steer the nation out of its economic crisis. In the parliamentary vote, he easily defeated his major opponent for the position, Dullus Alahapperuma, with 134 votes to 82.

Earlier this month, demonstrators made a last-ditch effort to overthrow the government and put an end to the instability that has engulfed Sri Lanka since March by blowing up Wickremesinghe’s private residence and taking control of the presidential palace.

When Rajapaksa fled and Wickremesinghe, the prime minister at the moment, announced his intention to quit in order to make space for a unity administration, the protesters appeared to have won.

Wickremesinghe’s appointment on Wednesday, however, poses a risk of escalating the situation once more because many protesters saw him as being inexorably linked to the Rajapaksa government. Even some Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna political party members have expressed their disapproval of him holding the position.

However, the victory of Mr. Wickremesinghe can lead to widespread discontent and protests. In anticipation of any protests, barricades were erected outside the parliament on Wednesday before the results were announced.

Protestors have been demanding for Mr. Wickremesinghe’s resignation for the past two weeks because they see him as a member of the political class who mismanaged Sri Lanka’s finances.

However, he disregarded them and last week took over as interim president after Mr. Rajapaksa departed. As a result of his victory, he will complete the remainder of the presidential term until November 2024.

Mr. Alahapperuma, a dissident MP in the ruling party who won the support of the main opposition, was his main competitor. In Sri Lanka, he had promised to form a new, cross-party government that would “put an end to the dishonest political culture.” He was unable to win over the majority, unfortunately.

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