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Parliament appoints next president of Sri Lanka

Ranil Wickremesinghe is one of three presidential candidates. He has been acting president since Gotabaya Rajapaksa stepped down last week after intense and protracted demonstrations. But Wickremesinghe is unpopular with the people and during the protests demands were also made for his resignation, with many viewing him as Rajapaksa’s heir.

Wickremesinghe’s main challenger is Dulas Alhapyruma, a former minister in Rajapaksa’s government, who on Tuesday received support from several quarters, including the leader of the main opposition party, who is not a candidate for the upcoming presidential election.

The third candidate is left-wing leader Anura Dissanayak.

Anyone who is allowed to hold the office of president will serve for the remainder of Rajapaksa’s term, which ends in 2024.

In the voting, 225 deputies choose among the candidates. Only a few members openly declared that they would vote for Wickremesinghe, possibly due to widespread criticism of it.

Hundreds of armed soldiers and police guard outside Parliament during the vote, but no protesters were seen in the morning.

Former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled the country last week and resigned after months of protests that culminated in the storming of the presidential palace, among other places.

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