Sri Lanka former PM now president, some protesters still aren’t happy

Former PM turned president Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Sri Lanka’s parliament yesterday elected former PM Ranil Wickremesinghe as the country’s new president. He won 134 votes from a possible 223. This news comes after protesters set fire to Ranil’s house on July 9, and also stormed the presidential palace in Colombo.

After over 100,000 enraged protesters stormed the palace, former president Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled the country and has since resigned. But the election of Ranil as Sri Lanka’s new president might not be bringing peace and stability to the country anytime soon. Some protesters have vowed to keep up the fight and view Ranil as part of the Rajapaksa regime.

As Sri Lanka’s parliament voted for Ranil, a small group of protesters demonstrated on the steps of the president’s office. They chanted, “Ranil go home”. One protester, 25 year old Vrai Balthazaar, told CNN

“We don’t see Ranil as being different to Rajapaksa’s, only an extension of him, which is very much about corruption, nepotism, racism, and also self-serving.”

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Sri Lanka plunged into chaos in April, after the country experienced a 13 hour power blackout, its longest blackout ever recorded. Since then, the country has been unable to pay for fuel, medicine, and other necessary items.

The country’s medical staff is suffering from a shortage of fuel and medicine. Earlier this month, over 100 medical staff from the national hospital of Colombo marched to the prime minister’s office. The protestors demanded a fresh supply of fuel and medicines.

Time will tell if Ranil’s rule as president brings any change to Sri Lanka.


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Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.

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