Acting President Ranil Wickremesinghe was elected by his fellow Members of Parliament as the next President of Sri Lanka on Wednesday. Co-parliamentarians considered Ranil Wickremesinghe to be their leader but the decision is likely to anger Sri Lankans who see the former prime minister as close to the ousted Rajapaksa.
Ranil Wickremesinghe of the United National Party (UNP) defeated Dullas Alahapperuma of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) and Anura Kumara Dissanayake of the Janata Vimukti Peramuna (JVP) who was defeated by the highest number of votes. The number of votes received by Ranil Wickramasinghe is 134.
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Some MPs from Tamil National Alliance (TNA), Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) and Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) voted for Ranil Wickremesinghe.
The SLPP youth wing also extended their support to him on Tuesday evening.
Ranil, whose private residence was set on fire by protesters, must restore the confidence of Sri Lankans and rebuild the economy by meeting the needs of people facing food shortages, shortages of essential medicines, fuel shortages and fuel shortages.
He is unpopular after imposing a state of emergency in Sri Lanka to quell protests.
He will face calls to abrogate the powers of the executive president, and how he deals with those demands will be remarkable.
Wickramasinghe is called ‘Ronil Rajapaksa’ due to his close ties to the Rajapaksa clan who are responsible for Sri Lanka’s crisis.
But Ranil Wickremesinghe is a veteran of Sri Lankan politics. The septuagenarian is a lawyer by profession. He was elected Member of Parliament in 1977.
He was succeeded by Ranasingh Premadasa in 1989. He was elected Prime Minister of Sri Lanka for the first time in 1993 after the assassination of Premadasa under the presidency of DB Wijetunga.
In 1994, Gamini was also elected as the leader of the United National Party (UNP), despite allegations of murdering Dissanayah.
He previously ran for the presidency in 2005 but lost to former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa by a margin of 150,000 votes. His tenure as a lawmaker sparked controversies regarding appointments to the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.
His image was tarnished after the 2019 Easter bombings in which 260 people were said to have died due to a security failure caused by a misunderstanding between him and former President Maithripala Sirisena.