Sri Lanka’s parliament elected former prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, a figure seen by many as equal in corruption to ousted leader Gotabaya Rajapaksa, as president Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Wickremesinghe became acting president Friday after defeating his opponent 134-82 in a secret ballot election, after the parliamentary majority coalition endorsed Wickremesinghe, according to the WSJ. He had promised to resign as prime minister along with former president Rajapaksa after protesters stormed the presidential residence and nearby office .
“People are demanding not the old politics,” said Wickremesinghe in an address to parliament following his victory, the WSJ reported. “Now we should all unite.”
Sri Lankans expressed disappointment at Wickremesinghe’s election, saying that he had used his political clout to prop up the Rajapaksa family, according to the WSJ.
“He came to save the Rajapaksa family, and they stole all of our money,” Jeyatheep Sivalingam, a local business owner, told the WSJ. “Why are politicians like this?”
The Secretary-General of Parliament announces to the House that Hon. @RW_UNP has been elected as the Succeeding President by Parliament!!
— Parliament of Sri Lanka (@ParliamentLK) July 20, 2022
1. When I took over as Prime Minister on May 13th, the economy had collapsed, with power cuts lasting 5 hours a day. In the 2 months since then, power cuts had been reduced to 3 hours a day, fertilizer has been provided to the farmers and the gas shortage has been solved.
— Ranil Wickremesinghe (@RW_UNP) July 18, 2022
Rajapaksa resigned over email on Thursday from Singapore, where he fled amid the mass uprisings. Protesters also stormed the prime minister’s residence, setting it on fire.
Counterproductive green energy policies, including a ban on artificial fertilizer, collapsed Sri Lanka’s economy and led to widespread demonstrations, experts told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
“Sri Lanka also presented a national review on the attainment of UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) on Wednesday, according to the nation’s official government news portal.
“It was noted that despite the economic constraints currently faced, Sri Lanka has made significant progress in achieving the SDGs compared to the countries in the region,” the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the United Nations said in a statement.
The President’s office and the Secretary General of Congress did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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