Sri Lanka to elect new president today amid economic crisis

Top three candidates include former PM, ex cabinet minister


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Published: Wed 20 Jul 2022, 7:18 AM

Sri Lanka is set to elect a new president on Wednesday following the resignation of Gotabaya Rajapaksa amid an unprecedented economic crisis.

225 members of the House are eligible to vote and participate in the secret ballot to elect the new President.

Acting Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe is among the top three contenders for the presidential election. The other two candidates are SLPP parliamentarian Dullas Alahaperuma and National People's Power (NPP) leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake.

Sri Lanka's main opposition leader Sajith Premadasa withdrew his candidature from the race on Tuesday, saying he would support rival candidate Dullas Alahapperuma for the top post.

Premadasa took to Twitter to say that his party, the Samagi Jana Balawegaya and its alliance and opposition partners, would support Alahapperuma, an MP of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), who is in the fray for the upcoming presidential elections.

Premadasa said that he would stick by his decision to seek the "greater good" for Lankans.

"For the greater good of my country that I love and the people I cherish I hereby withdraw my candidacy for the position of President. Samagi Jana Balawegaya and our alliance and our opposition partners will work hard towards making Dullas Alahaperuma victorious," he tweeted.

Dullas Alahaperuma is a senior lawmaker from the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) and a former journalist. He was also a cabinet minister in the previous Rajapaksa government.


Former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had offered his resignation after fleeing the country to Singapore. The then-president first flew to the Maldives after tens of thousands of protesters stormed his official residence in Colombo.

The economy in Sri Lanka is bracing for a sharp contraction due to the unavailability of basic inputs for production, an 80 per cent depreciation of the currency since March 2022, a lack of foreign reserves and the country's failure to meet its international debt obligations.

The economic crisis, which is the worst in Sri Lanka's history, has prompted an acute shortage of essential items like fuel and medicines.

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