Ranil Wickremesinghe took oaths as the 8th Executive President of Sri Lanka a short while ago. He was sworn in before Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya at the parliament complex.
Sri Lanka’s 225-member parliament voted Wickremesinghe in as the new Head of State with a total of 134 votes cast in his favour. He faced off SLPP’s dissident MP Dullas Alahapperuma who was polled second with 82 votes. NPP leader MP Anura Kumara Dissanayaka secured only 03 votes.
Wickremesinghe, a six-time former prime minister had the backing of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), the largest bloc in the parliament.
Two parliamentary members had abstained from voting while four of the 223 votes cast by the members were meanwhile found invalid.
The procedure for electing a succeeding president by Parliament is provided in the Constitution and the Presidential Elections (Special Provisions) Act (No. 2 of 1981), in the event of a vacancy in the office of the President before the end of the term. To be elected for the office of succeeding president, a candidate should get 50% or more votes from the valid number of votes.
Following the conclusion of the counting process, Secretary-General of Parliament, Dhammika Dasanayake announced to the House that Ranil Wickremesinghe was been elected as the 8th Executive President.
Pursuant to the provisions of the Presidential Elections (Special Provisions) Act (No. 2 of 1981), Wickremesinghe’s appointment was published in a special gazette notification last evening.
Wickremesinghe is thus qualified to hold the office of the President for the remaining term of the presidency, which was left vacant after his predecessor Gotabaya Rajapaksa stepped down last week. Wickremesinghe was appointed as the caretaker president, Rajapaksa fled the country on a military plane to the Maldives and then took a commercial flight to Singapore.
He has held the office of prime minister six times although he never completed a term. His latest and shortest term in office as the prime minister was when former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa appointed him to the position on July 13 this year, after his brother Mahinda Rajapaksa was forced to step down amidst growing public agitation over economic mismanagement and corruption allegations.
Brief history of new President Ranil Wickremesinghe
Ranil Wickremesinghe was elected to the 9th Parliament on June 23rd, 2021 as a National List Member representing the United National Party.
Born on March 24th, 1949, Ranil Wickremesinghe also held the position of Prime Minister of the previous Yahapalana government.
An alumnus of the Royal College of Colombo, Wickremesinghe was later selected to the Faculty of Law of the University of Colombo and sworn in as a lawyer.
He started his political career as the chief organizer of the United National Party in Kelaniya Constituency in the mid of 1970 and was later appointed as the chief organizer of the Biyagama Constituency.
In 1977, he was elected as a Member of Parliament for the first time and was the youngest cabinet minister in the J.R. Jayewardene government where he held the position of Minister of Youth Affairs and Employment.
He was the Minister of Foreign Affairs at the age of 28, and later served as the cabinet minister for Youth Affairs, Education and Industry, Science and Technology.
Ranil Wickremesinghe, who also served as the Leader of the House between March 06, 1989 and May 07, 1993, also served as the Leader of the Opposition in the Parliament of Sri Lanka from 1994 to 2001 and from 2004 to 2015.
He was first elected as the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka on May 7, 1993 and held that position until August 19, 1994. Ranil Wickremesinghe was the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka for the second time from December 9, 2001 to April 2, 2004, for the third time from January 9, 2015 to August 21, 2015, for the fourth time from August 24, 2015 to October 26, 2018, and for the fifth time from December 16, 2018 to November 21, 2019.
Thereafter, given the resignation of the former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on the 9th of May, Ranil Wickremesinghe returned to the post of Prime Minister on the 12th of the same month in the capacity of Prime Minister.
Following the resignation of Gotabaya Rajapaksa from the office of President, he became the Acting President from 14th as per the Constitution. – ada derana