Ranil Wickremesinghe Sri Lanka’s 8th executive prime minister is all set to oath in a short while now. His election as the president of Sri Lanka was opposed by the protesters who considered him to be a loyalist of the Rajapaksa family, however, his supporters believe that his experience will help in driving the island nation out of the crisis.
He was elected president by Sri Lanka’s parliament on Wednesday. Despite fierce opposition to his acting presidency, he secured 134 votes in the 225 member house. His voters hope that his long experience will help in ending the country’s crippling economic and political crisis in the last 7 decades.
After he was elected, Wickremesinghe spoke after a mass protest that led to the ousting of the previous president. He said ” The economy of our country today is in a very difficult place, young men and women are asking for a change in the system. There are many problems in the world and we must proceed without torturing them and to go forward we must come up with a new program. What the people are asking of us is not politics, the parliament must unite in the face of these issues.”
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Many who took to the streets last week had wanted Wickremesinghe gone too as they believed him to be an ally of the Rakapaksa family too. But so far, the protests have been muted after the election.
Wickremesinghe served as Sri Lanka’s prime minister a record 6 times and unsuccessfully ran for president twice. His experience in senior government positions and reputation as shrewd operator should count in his favor as he seeks a way out of the crisis.