Sri Lanka’s Wickremesinghe voted in as next president

Sri Lanka’s acting President Ranil Wickremesinghe will be the country’s next president until 2024, a parliament vote count showed on Wednesday.

Hundreds of police, paramilitary and military troops were deployed around the parliament building, about 13 km (8 miles) away, and an approach road had at least three barricades. Security personnel in speed boats patrolled a lake around the building, and military jeeps and armoured vehicles stood parked within the perimeter.

Protesters occupied the presidential secretariat earlier this month along with the official president’s residence, forcing the then incumbent Gotabaya Rajapaksa to flee the country.

Many protesters see Wickremesinghe as an ally of the Rajapaksa family, and his private house and office were also stormed by people demanding his ouster.

Wickremesinghe, a six-time prime minister, became acting president last week after Rajapaksa fled on a military plane to the Maldives and then took a commercial flight to Singapore.

Two of Rajapaksa’s brothers, including former prime minister and president Mahinda Rajapaksa, as well as a nephew were in attendance as the 225-member parliament gathered for the vote. The process is expected to take hours before a winner is declared.

There is a third candidate in the contest – Anura Kumara Dissanayaka, the leader of the leftist Janatha Vimukti Peramuna party. But his party commands only three seats in the 225-member parliament and he has no realistic chance of winning.

About The Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *