Ranil Wickremsinghe Calls For Unity Through Crisis

Colombo:  Ranil Wickremesinghe, who was elected as the new president of Sri Lanka in an election held in parliament on Wednesday, called on all legislators, including the opposition parliamentarians, to unite and work together with him to pull the country out of the current economic crisis.

Addressing the Parliament after winning the election, Wickremesinghe said, “We are at a critical juncture. There is an economic crisis and the youth want a system change. People want all parliamentarians to come together.”

“I also want to swear in as president at the parliamentary complex,” Xinhua news agency reported quoted him as saying.

Wickremesinghe got 134 votes from parliamentarians in a secret ballot that took place in parliament.

Out of 225 parliamentarians, 223 voted in the ballot and there were four invalid votes.

Another two candidates — Podujana Peramuna Dullas Alahapperuma, and National People’s Power leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake — got 82 votes and three votes, respectively.

“Regardless of who won, we must ensure that the necessary economic and political changes that people want are met. Overcoming the crisis should be the first and foremost task of parliamentarians,” said Alahapperuma.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa resigned from the post of president last week following massive protests amid a severe economic crisis in the South Asian country.

Following his resignation, Speaker of Parliament Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena announced that Wickremesinghe, who was the prime minister then, was appointed acting president.

(IANS)