Ranil Wickremesinghe: Sri Lanka Elects Prime Minister Named In Popular Revolt As New President | International
is the headline of the news that the author of WTM News has collected this article. Stay tuned to WTM News to stay up to date with the latest news on this topic. We ask you to follow us on social networks.
The Sri Lankan Parliament has chosen a new president this Wednesday: Ranil Wickremesinghe, the country’s prime minister and one of the politicians singled out during the popular revolt that, last week, caused the fall of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Following Rajapaksa’s flight to Singapore and his subsequent resignation, Wickremesinghe was sworn in as interim president. The chamber had to choose, however, a new president to redirect the course of the country, immense in the worst economic crisis since its independence from the United Kingdom in 1948. The shortage of basic supplies (fuel, medicine or food) brought to the streets hundreds of thousands of citizens who, after storming the presidential palace on July 9, overthrew the government.
Wickremesinghe’s election does not bode well, at least for the maintenance of social peace. The encampment that, since last April, has remained in the Galle Force park, on the Colombo seafront, demanded the departure of President Rajapaksa, whom the protesters accuse of having profited at their expense. But also that of his prime minister Wickremesinghe. After the historic assault on the palace, both announced that they would leave office before Wednesday, July 13, but they did not keep their promise. That day, the protesters occupied the prime minister’s offices for a few hours, which left images for history, with young protesters walking through the colonial palace under the gaze of the military.
Yes drop go home (for Gotabaya, the former president’s first name) was the motto of the protests and the only element that united the protesters, another demand was soon added: the departure of Wickremesinghe, a veteran Sri Lankan politician who is considered an ally of the Rajapaksa and who also blame the disastrous economic management that has led the country to bankruptcy. In May, the intensification of the protests led Rajapaksa to do without, as prime minister, his brother Mahinda. It was then that Wickremesinghe took over.
In Parliament’s vote held this Wednesday, the new president obtained 134 votes (out of a total of 225) against his main rival, Dullas Alahapperuma. Wickremesinghe has won the majority support of the ruling party, Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), which enjoys a large majority thanks to Rajapaksa’s landslide victory in the 2019 elections. The party has always tried to privilege the Sinhalese majority and Buddhist against the Tamil and Muslim minorities. The popular uprising, however, has united all ethnic groups and religions for the same goal: to throw out the president.
“We face important challenges”
The new president must now resume negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to obtain an injection of 3,000 million dollars. He will also continue to seek help from China, one of his main creditors, to get back on the path of economic recovery. The lack of foreign currency – caused, in part, by the drop in tourism – has left Sri Lanka unable to import basic necessities such as fuel, which has caused terrible social unrest.
Join EL PAÍS to follow all the news and read without limits.
Wickremesinghe, a 73-year-old lawyer, has served as prime minister six times and is confident that his seniority, economic experience and good relations with China and India will help the country get ahead. “Our country faces important challenges and we have to work on a new strategy to meet the aspirations of the people,” he said in a conciliatory message after the victory, collected by the Reuters agency. The mandate ends in 2024, but it will be necessary to see what the reaction of the street in Sri Lanka is now and if his parliamentary victory is accepted or provokes a new wave of protests.
Follow all the international information in Facebook Y Twitteror in our weekly newsletter.
Leave a Reply