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Friday, 22 July 2022 13:40

Wickremesinghe sworn in as president amid Sri Lankan protesters’ anger

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Sri Lanka's Parliament elected Ranil Wickremesinghe as president of Sri Lanka on Wednesday (20/7/2022). He was sworn in on Thursday 21/7), replacing Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Previously, Ranil Wickremesinghe had been the country's prime minister for six times. He even served as Acting President of Sri Lanka when Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled to the Maldives and Singapore on Wednesday (13/7) last week.

He took the oath of office before presiding judge Jayantha Jayasuriya in the heavily fortified parliament complex. In the vote count, Ranil Wickremesinghe received 134 votes, while his main rival, Dullas Alahapperuma, received 82 votes. Sri Lanka's third presidential candidate, Anura Kumara Dissanayake only bagged three votes from his own party.

Ranil Wickremesinghe's victory in parliament came thanks to the support of many people in the main Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) party, which is dominated by the Rajapaksa family. Wickremesinghe will complete Gotabaya Rajapaksa's term which ends in 2024.

Wickremesinghe was chosen amid anger from protesters who have demanded he leat his post as prime minister for weeks. Quoted from Al Jazeera, the election of Ranil Wickremesinghe as President of Sri Lanka is predicted to trigger more protests in the crisis-hit country.

Earlier this month, protesters torched Wickremesinghe's private residence and seized control of the presidential palace in a bid to topple the government and end the chaos that has plagued Sri Lanka since March. The protesters appeared to have scored a victory when Rajapaksa fled and Wickremesinghe, then prime minister, vowed to step down to pave the way for a unity government.

However, the reality was reversed, in the parliamentary elections Wickremesinghe managed to garner more votes far ahead of his rivals. The election of Wickremesinghe is likely to spark another wave of protests, as many protesters see him as a figure closely associated with the Rajapaksa regime.

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