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Ranil Wickremesinghe is elected as Sri Lanka's next president, with little outcry

Image: Reuters Berita 24 English -  Sri Lankan lawmakers did this in the hopes that Wickremesinghe's extensive political and administrat...

Image: Reuters

Berita 24 English -  Sri Lankan lawmakers did this in the hopes that Wickremesinghe's extensive political and administrative expertise would assist the island nation emerge from a dire economic and political situation.

There were just about 100 demonstrators on the steps of the presidential secretariat, so their tone was subdued. Wickremesinghe was viewed as an ally of the Rajapaksa family by many of the hundreds of thousands of protesters that forced the resignation of former president Gotabaya Rajapaksa last week.

"We are stunned. He is a person who uses great cleverness to handle things "Damitha Abeyrathne, a protester, said this about Wickremesinghe. "He'll begin exerting new kinds of control over us. We shall relaunch our campaign as protestors."

One of the objectives of the movement, according to Chameera Dedduwage, an organiser of prior demonstrations, was Rajapaksa's ouster, and once that was accomplished, the movement "will have to be happy with its fundamental demand."

Using Rajapaksa's initials, Dedduwage remarked, "Unlike GR, Ranil is not a populist: he's known to be a brutal pragmatic."

In the 225-member parliament, Wickremesinghe received 134 votes, while Dullas Alahapperuma, a legislator from the ruling party, received 82. According to the secretary general of parliament, only three votes were cast for the third contender, Anura Kumara Dissanayaka.

The six-time prime minister Wickremesinghe won despite widespread popular discontent with the ruling class as a result of months of severe gasoline, food, and medical shortages.

After Rajapaksa escaped on a military plane to the Maldives and then boarded a commercial trip to Singapore last week, Wickremesinghe was named acting president.

The 73-year-old declared after his election that "our country is facing huge challenges and we have to work on a new strategy to realise the ambitions of the people." "Everyone needs to get together right now."

Alahapperuma, despite being more popular with the protestors and the opposition, lacks experience at the highest levels of governance in a nation that has little money for imports and is in serious need of an IMF bailout.

I accept the parliament's decision," he declared. "My goal was to encourage the development of policies based on consensus in order to alleviate the suffering of a population. I think there's still room for that."

People need transportation and fuel.

Prior to the vote, Wickremesinghe claimed that by the time he became prime minister in the Rajapaksa administration in May, the economy had already crumbled.

He said that since then, power outages had decreased from five hours per day to three and that farmers who had been harmed by a previous ban on the product had received fertiliser.

Even though he only held control of one seat as the leader of the United National Party and had previously run for president twice in vain, Wickremesinghe was able to garner enough support from parliamentarians this time.

Opposition leader Sajith Premadasa declared, "This is now an outmoded parliament with a mandate granted for an expelled president." But he also said: "A nation that is anarchic is impossible. The constitution must be followed in our work. We will support you fully in your opposition role "for any strategy to restart the economy.

The COVID-19 outbreak and a subsequent decline in remittances from Sri Lankans living abroad both severely impacted the country's tourism-based economy. Before it was lifted late last year, the ban on chemical fertilisers reduced output.

In 2019, the Rajapaksas enacted populist tax cuts that had a negative impact on the government's budget, and falling foreign reserve levels reduced imports of food, medicine, and fuel.

The rationing of gasoline is very strict. The central bank has warned that headline inflation, which reached 54.6 percent last month, could reach 70 percent in the coming months.

Prior to the vote, Wickremesinghe declared a state of emergency, and local media reported on Wednesday that gatherings close to the major protest location would be prohibited.

However, demonstrators promised to continue.

The 26-year-old Kasumi Ranasinghe Arachchige added, "People demand fuel, transportation, and we deserve anything residents need." "The demonstration will continue until we see no one in Sri Lanka struggling,"

Buwanaka Perera, another demonstrator, said: "Both the occupy movement and the resistance must continue. Till Ranil returns home, we will keep protesting."

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