Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka’s Ranil Wickremesinghe has taken the oath of office amid hopes that he will bring the country out of the economic crisis. The 73-year-old took oath on Thursday in the tight security Parliament complex.
Wickremesinghe, the former prime minister, is seen as highly unpopular among the public, but some protesters have said they would give him a chance. Sri Lanka is currently going through a period of massive unrest over the economic crisis.
Many blame the Rajapaksa administration for handling the crisis and see Mr Wickremesinghe as part of the problem. Still, a day after Mr Wickremesinghe won the parliament vote; some demonstrations were on the streets.
However, security remained tight around government buildings in the capital.
Mr Wickremesinghe won an overwhelming majority of parliamentarians with the support of the ruling party – the People’s Front of Sri Lanka (SLPP). He defeated his main rival for the job, Dulles Alhapparuma, a disgruntled ruling party MP with opposition support—by 134 votes to 82.
Wickremesinghe aims to restore political stability so the country can resume talks with the International Monetary Fund for a bailout package.
Protests have been raging in Sri Lanka for months as the country is effectively bankrupt and facing severe shortages of food, fuel and other essential supplies.
Last week thousands of protesters marched on the streets of Colombo and demanded the resignation of former presidents Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Wickremesinghe.
When he assumed the job of acting president last week, he ordered the military to do whatever was necessary to restore public order, following protesters storming and occupying government buildings.
He also extended a national emergency order to stamp out any flare-ups this week.
A former six-time prime minister, Mr Wickremesinghe failed in his previous two presidential runs. His victory on Wednesday means he will serve the rest of the presidential term until November 2024.