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LIVE: Wickremesinghe wins the Sri Lankan presidential election

Ranil Wickremesinghe, the Acting President and Prime Minister, was elected as Sri Lanka’s next president on Wednesday, July 20 after receiving 134 votes in parliament. After weeks of public protests against former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who fled the country and resigned last week, the election was held. The island nation, which has been plagued by a political and economic crisis, hosted a three-way presidential election. On Wednesday morning, parliamentarians voted in secret.

Wickremesinghe was named acting president of Sri Lanka on July 13, just days after resigning as prime minister due to furious protests at his residence. He has previously served as the nation’s Prime Minister six times. Wickremesinghe is said to have the backing of Rajapaksa’s Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP). The party has 145 votes in the 225-member Parliament.

How Did the Voting Happen?
The voting was done on paper ballots. Each member of the Sri Lankan Parliament has a single vote. Because there were multiple candidates running, each ballot was also marked with the preferred ranking. So, the top preference was marked with a ‘1’ next to the name, while the boxes in front of the names of other candidates were marked with a ‘2’ or a ‘3’, depending on the voting MP’s preference.

Anura Dissanayake, leader of the leftist People’s Liberation Front (JVP), whose coalition has three parliamentary seats, was the third candidate. On Tuesday, Opposition Leader and Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) leader Sajith Premadasa withdrew from the presidential race and declared his support for Alahapperuma.

‘Whatever the cost, we will devote ourselves to rebuilding our motherland through shared prosperity and inclusive growth. Will advocate for anti-corruption, prosperity for all, and a credible and transparent government,’┬áhe tweeted on Wednesday morning, ahead of the poll. Wickremesinghe declared a state of emergency in the country on Monday ahead of the presidential election.

 

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