Legislators faucet the six-time PM as president, defying threat of extra protests by individuals offended over a deepening financial disaster.
Colombo, Sri Lanka – The parliament in Sri Lanka has elected veteran politician and six-time Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe because the crisis-hit island nation’s eighth president.
Wickremesinghe secured 134 votes whereas his major rival Dullas Alahapperuma obtained 82 votes within the presidential election by the 225-member parliament on Wednesday.
The third candidate, Marxist chief Anura Kumara Dissanayake, managed three votes – all from his personal social gathering.
Wickremesinghe’s win is a outstanding flip of fortunes for a person thought of as “politically lifeless” by some analysts.
“I thank parliament for this honour,” the 73-year-old mentioned after the secretary-general of the parliament introduced his victory.
Wickremesinghe was appointed prime minister after Mahinda Rajapaksa was compelled to resign in Could this 12 months over the financial disaster.
He was made the performing president after predecessor Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled the nation and resigned by e-mail final week.
Gotabaya was compelled to flee after tens of hundreds of protesters hit the streets in capital Colombo and occupied his official residence amongst different essential authorities buildings.
‘Not what we needed’
It was primarily due to the help from the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna social gathering (SLPP) that Wickremesinghe turned the following head of state.
He had unsuccessfully contested the presidential elections twice since 2000, the final time in opposition to Mahinda Rajapaksa, the patriarch of the Rajapaksa clan.
Protesters accuse Wickremesinghe of going out of his method to shield the Rajapaksas from any hurt and making offers with the highly effective however unpopular household to outmanoeuvre political rivals.
Amid the unprecedented financial disaster that started earlier this 12 months, Gotabaya turned to Wickremesinghe, hoping the veteran politician would assist revive the economic system.
However the appointment additional angered protesters, who needed the nation’s ruling elite – largely managed by the Rajapaksas – to go.
On July 9, tens of hundreds of protesters hit the streets, occupying a number of authorities buildings together with the presidential secretariat and Temple Timber, the official residence of the prime minister.
Wickremesinghe’s non-public residence in Colombo was additionally set on hearth by the protesters.
The protests compelled Gotabaya to announce his resignation and escape, first to the Maldives after which to Singapore.
However Wickremesinghe refused to step down and was declared the performing president tasked with the formation of a brand new authorities.
Wickremesinghe has received the overall election a number of occasions however by no means accomplished the time period as prime minister. He’s now the top of state, a place he aspired to for many years.
However protesters have mentioned they may proceed their “aragalaya”, the Sinhala phrase for “wrestle”, till Wickremesinghe is gone.
“We’re presently discussing our technique and regrouping. We will certainly proceed our wrestle and our occupation at GotaGoGama till Ranil Wickremesinghe resigns. That is undoubtedly not what we needed,” protest chief Melani Gunathilake instructed Al Jazeera.
“We all know very nicely that Ranil Wickremesinghe isn’t the identical as Gotabaya Rajapaksa. He’s a extra crafty particular person. And not too long ago he has even been making an attempt to suppress the protest by imposing a state of emergency and sending air power helicopters over GotaGoGama. However I don’t suppose individuals can be intimidated by these actions anymore.
“Sri Lanka deserves a frontrunner who truly cares for its individuals, not anyone thinks about his political future.”