Ranil Wickremesinghe is Sri Lanka's new President
| Updated: Wednesday, July 20, 2022, 13:07 [IST]
Colombo, July 20: Despite public outrage against him, Ranil Wickremesinghe was today elected new Sri Lanka President amid the massive economic crisis the island nation is reeling under.
The 73-year-old six-time prime minister secured 134 votes in the 225-member House while his nearest rival and dissident ruling party leader Dullas Alahapperuma got 82. Leftist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake secured just three votes.Ranil Wickremesinghe
The 73-year-old is despised by the protesters, who see him as a Rajapaksa ally and had also demanded his resignation as prime minister.
Angry protesters had set Ranil Wickremesinghe house on fire amid a massive public protest in the country over the unprecedented economic crisis.
Wickeremesinghe had been serving as acting President after Gotabaya Rajapakasa had to resign from the top post following widespread protests in the country.
The new President will have a mandate to serve out the rest of Rajapaksa's term, which ends in November 2024. Earlier, the voting by secret ballot took place amidst tight security in the wake of the simmering tensions in the island nation triggered by the unprecedented economic and political crisis. In the crucial election, 223 lawmakers voted while two MPs abstained.
Ranil Wickremesinghe sworn in as interim President of Sri Lanka
Four votes were rejected while 219 were declared valid. This is for the first time in 44 years that Sri Lanka's Parliament will directly elect a president.
Presidential elections in 1982, 1988, 1994, 1999, 2005, 2010, 2015 and 2019 had elected them by popular vote. The only previous occasion when the presidency became vacant mid-term was in 1993 when president Ranasinghe Premadasa was assassinated. DB Wijetunga was unanimously endorsed by Parliament to run the balance of Premadasa's term.