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Sri Lanka declares an emergency prior to the election of the new president by the parliament

In an effort to prevent violence ahead of a vote in parliament later this week to pick a new president, Sri Lanka’s acting president Ranil Wickremesinghe issued instructions late on Sunday for a state of emergency in the troubled island nation.


Since public protests against the government’s handling of a worsening economic crisis and a lingering shortage of necessities took hold in April, Sri Lanka’s beleaguered leaders have declared a state of emergency numerous times.


The notification indicated that it was necessary to take these actions in order to ensure public safety, preserve public order, and maintain supplies and services that were vital to the community’s daily operations.


After president Gotabaya Rajapaksa left the nation to escape a popular uprising against his administration, Wickremesinghe declared a state of emergency last week, although it was not formally announced or gazetted.


Wickremesinghe, who took office as acting president on July 15, declared a new state of emergency late on Sunday. The government has not yet released the details of the emergency’s legal provisions.


In the past, the military has been called in to make arrests, hold people in detention, inspect private property, and quell demonstrations.


Colombo, the nation’s business hub, was peaceful on Monday morning, with both cars and pedestrians using the streets.


State of emergency declarations are increasingly the government’s go-to response, according to Bhavani Fonseka, senior researcher at the Centre for Policy Alternatives.


This has previously shown to be ineffectual, Fonseka told Reuters.


After hundreds of thousands of anti-government protestors took to the streets of Colombo a week ago and occupied his official residence and office, Rajapaksa fled to the Maldives and then Singapore last week.


Following Rajapaksa’s resignation on Friday, Parliament met to start the process of choosing a new leader, with the vote scheduled for Wednesday.


A shipment of petroleum was also sent to the country in crisis, bringing some relief from the dire shortages.


One of the leading candidates to hold the office of president on a full-time basis is Wickremesinghe, a six-term prime minister who is regarded as Rajapaksa’s ally. However, protesters also want him out of office, raising the possibility of additional unrest should he win.


Along with Dullas Alahapperuma, a prominent member of the ruling party who served as the minister of mass media and a cabinet spokesperson, Sajith Premadasa, the leader of the main opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) party, is a leading contender.


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