Sri Lankan MPs have elected as President Ranil Wickremesinghe as the country’s new president, despite his unpopularity with the public. Mr. Ranil faces the task of leading the country out of its economic collapse and restoring order after months of mass protests. He defeated his rival for the job, Dullus Alahapperuma, with achieving 134 votes to 82 in a parliamentary vote. However, Sri Lanka’s Ex-president Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled the country in the mid July 2022. He bolted to the Maldives and Singapore after thousands of protesters stormed his presidential residences and other government buildings, calling for his final resignation.
They had also called for the resignation letter of Mr. Wickremesinghe, a close ally of the Rajapaksa political family. He was appointed Prime Minister in May. Protesters burnt down his private home and stormed his prime ministerial office in Colombo in demonstrations against his leadership. Many shared despair and disappointment over his win. Mr. Wickremesinghe is observed by many as a shrewd political operator who has managed to cling on in parliament despite his party losing all but one of its seats in the 2020 election. He failed in his previous two presidential runs as a former six-time Prime Minister. His victory on July 20, 2022, means he will serve the rest of the presidential term until November 2024.
But on the day, after sweeping the vote with the backing of the Rajapaksa’s ruling party, he asked for unity and bipartisanship moving forward. He stated parliament the nation was in a challenging situation and had significant difficulties ahead. Sri Lanka has been wracked with protests for months because the nation is effectively bankrupt and facing tremendous shortages of food, fuel, and other needed supplies. Mr. Wickremesinghe aims to restore political stability so the country can resume negotiations with the International Monetary fund for a bailout package. General Secretary Sagara Kariyawasam said that they feel that Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe is the only person with the experience, the know-how, and the capability to provide solutions to the economic crisis.”
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