Sri Lanka’s acting President Ranil Wickremesinghe was on Wednesday elected the country’s new president, with the hope that he would pull Sri Lanka out of a crippling economic and political crisis.
The secretary-general (SG) of parliament announced that Wickremesinghe, winning 134 votes in the 225-member parliament, has been elected the succeeding president.
“Ranil Wickremesinghe has been elected as the eighth executive president under the constitution,” the SG said.
Three candidates were in the race to become the next president. Ranil Wickremesinghe faced the opposition-backed Dullas Alahapperuma and Anura Kumara Dissanayake during the secret ballot vote.
Alahapperuma, who won 82 votes, is a former education minister and a dissident member of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna party, which is controlled by former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa clan.
Rajapaksa fled the country and resigned last week amid mass protests.
The win for Wickremesinghe, opposed by many ordinary Sri Lankans, could lead to more demonstrations by people who are angry with the ruling elite after months of severe shortages of fuel, food and electricity.