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Wickremesinghe chosen new president in crisis-hit Sri Lanka

On Wednesday, July 20, 2022, Sri Lankan military guard the Parliament building in Colombo. Wednesday, lawmakers in Sri Lanka will cast secret ballots to choose a new president who can steer the island nation out of its current political, economic, and humanitarian catastrophe. (Rafiq Maqbool/AP Photo)

the city of Colombo, Sri Lanka In a decision that threatens to reignite political turbulence in the troubled South Asian island nation, parliamentarians in Sri Lanka elected six-time Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as president on Wednesday to replace the deposed leader who left the country.

Having spent 45 years of his life in Parliament, he is grateful for the opportunity to serve as president. “I don’t think I need to tell you how bad things are in our nation right now. It’s time to put an end to this stalemate now that the election is done. Until now, “we had 48 hours to remain separated, but from now on, I am willing to have a discussion with you.”

Amidst Sri Lanka’s greatest economic crisis in decades, former president Gotabaya Rajapaksa named Wickremesinghe as prime minister in May. Acting President Wickremesinghe took over when Rajapaksa resigned and departed the nation last week.

 

A longtime politician, Wickremesinghe is well-versed in diplomatic and international matters, and he is 73 years old. However, people dislike him because they consider him a leftover from Rajapaksa’s administration. After Ranil Wickremesinghe was elected president, protesters chanted, “Go home, Ranil.”

Former government minister Dullas Alahapperuma earned 82 votes, while Wickremesinghe received 134. There were three for the Marxist candidate.

Until 2024, Wickremesinghe will be Rajapaksa’s successor. Last week, demonstrators invaded Rajapaksa’s official mansion and seized important state facilities, forcing him to flee the country and resign via email.

Wickremesinghe now has the power to choose a new prime minister, as he is president.

In Sri Lanka, the head of state is often chosen by the people. Only if the president’s office becomes vacant prior to the conclusion of a term does Parliament assume responsibility. news

Only once previously in Sri Lanka’s history has a prime minister been elected unopposed by Parliament, following the assassination of the father of the current opposition leader, Ranasinghe Premadasa.

While the government negotiates a bailout with the International Monetary Fund in light of the economic crisis, the 22 million people of Sri Lanka are left without basic necessities including medication, fuel, and food. There are now concerns about whether or not a new administration will be able to heal the economy and satisfy a populace fed up with its leaders’ failings, as a consequence of the consequent political crisis.

On top of being Sri Lanka’s finance minister, Wickremesinghe has been in charge of the IMF negotiations. Weekly Parliamentary speeches have warned that the route out of this crisis would be arduous, but he has also vowed to reform an increasingly powerful administration that has progressively centralized authority under the president.

The general people, on the other hand, views him as a relic of the Rajapaksa regime, which was responsible for Sri Lanka’s economic collapse.

Only a few of parliamentarians have officially said that they would vote for Wickremesinghe in light of the animosity directed at him. On the guarantee that Wickremesinghe will harshly punish the offenders and ensure law and order, dozens of Rajapaksa supporters were believed to be endorsing Wickremesinghe.

The ranked-choice ballot was open to all 225 members of Parliament, including the speaker. A couple votes were ruled illegal because of the absence of two members.