Ranil Wickremesinghe wins Presidential polls in Sri Lanka, succeeds Gotabaya Rajapaksa
Wickremesinghe has served as the Prime Minister of the island nation six times. Sri Lanka’s President Ranil Wickremesinghe (Photo credit should read ISHARA S. KODIKARA/AFP via Getty Images)
Sri Lanka’s Acting President Ranil Wickremesinghe won the Presidential election on Wednesday amid the ongoing economic turmoil in the island nation.
Ranil Wickremesinghe was elected as the new President following a vote in Sri Lankan Parliament. He received 134 votes. SLPP parliamentarian Dullas Alahaperuma received 82 votes while National People’s Power (NPP) leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake received three votes.
Wickremesinghe, who has served as the Prime Minister of the island nation six times, was among the top for the Presidential election in which members of the House voted through a secret ballot.
Earlier, Wickremesinghe was appointed as the new president of Sri Lanka after Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled abroad after his palace was stormed by angry protesters amid the unprecedented economic crisis.
The Daily Mirror reported that Sri Lankan Speaker said MPs were not allowed to bring mobile phones into the House, during the election after some party leaders had informed their MPs to take pics of their ballot papers.
Earlier, Wickremesinghe was regarded as one of the top candidates. However, the tables turned after Sri Lanka’s main opposition leader Sajith Premadasa yesterday withdrew his candidature from the presidential race and said he was supporting rival candidate Dullas Alahapperuma for the top post.
Premadasa took to Twitter to say that his party the Samagi Jana Balawegaya and its alliance and opposition partners will support Alahapperuma, an MP of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), who is in the fray for the upcoming presidential elections.
Premadasa said that he is heading with this decision as he seeks the “greater good” for Lankans. “For the greater good of my country that I love and the people I cherish I hereby withdraw my candidacy for the position of President. Samagi Jana Balawegaya and our alliance and our opposition partners will work hard towards making Dullas Alahaperuma victorious,” he tweeted.
Earlier, Alahapperuma was campaigning hard for the presidential race along with his prime ministerial candidate Sajith Premadasa to persuade the Tamil MPs to vote for Dullas, the Daily Mirror reported.
Earlier, former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had offered his resignation after fleeing the country to Singapore. The president first flew to the Maldives after tens of thousands of protesters stormed his official residence in the capital Colombo.
The economy in Sri Lanka is bracing for a sharp contraction due to the unavailability of basic inputs for production, an 80 per cent depreciation of the currency since March 2022, coupled with a lack of foreign reserves and the country’s failure to meet its international debt obligations.
Hundreds of Sri Lankans continue to queue up at petrol pumps across the debt-ridden country every day amid fuel shortage, and a large number of people are ditching their cars and motorcycles for bicycles for their daily commute.
The economic crisis which is the worst in Sri Lanka’s history has prompted an acute shortage of essential items like fuel.