Who Is Ranil Wickremesinghe, Newly Elected President Of Sri Lanka

Wickremesinghe has been called ‘Ranil Rajapaksa’ for his close ties to the Rajapaksa clan who have been held responsible for the crisis Sri Lanka finds itself in.

By Ashita Singh
Wed, 20 Jul 2022 01:34 PM IST
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Who Is Ranil Wickremesinghe, Newly Elected President Of Sri Lanka
New Sri Lanka President: Ranil Wickremesinghe

Ranil Wickremesinghe, a six-time Prime Minister of Sri Lanka was elected as the new President of the country on Wednesday, July 20th just a few days after Gotabaya Rajapaksa, resigned in the face of escalating anger with the deepening economic crisis.

Wickremesinghe was promoted to act as interim President after Gotabaya fled abroad to restore law and order in the country amid massive protests. Ranil, 73 secured 134 votes in the 225-member house and defeated Dullas Alahapperuma and Anura Kumara Dissanayake. The new President will have a mandate to serve out the rest of Rajapaksa's term, which ends in November 2024.

The newly elected President has served as Prime Minister six times and has been in parliament for over 45 years. He served as Prime Minister of Sri Lanka from 1993 to 1994, 2001 to 2004, 2015 to 2018 and 2018 to 2019. He has a wide international connection and was a lawyer by profession who was first elected as a lawmaker in 1977.

Ranil has been the leader of UNP since 1994 and also acted as Leader of the Opposition from 1994 to 2001 and from 2004 to 2015. Wickremesinghe has been called ‘Ranil Rajapaksa’ for his close ties to the Rajapaksa clan who have been held responsible for the crisis Sri Lanka finds itself in.

He belongs to the elite family of Sri Lanka as his paternal grandfather, CG Wickremesinghe, was the most senior Sri Lankan colonial government servant and his father was an integral part of the post-colonial establishment. First, as the managing director of Lake House, the publishing empire started by his father-in-law, and later as one of the closest confidantes of the United National Party (UNP).

Young Wickremesinghe became the deputy foreign minister and a short while later shifted to a newly created post as minister of youth affairs and employment. He also served as the Minister of Finance for Sri Lanka.

He earlier contested for the presidency in 2005 but lost to former prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa by a margin of 150,000 votes. His time as a lawmaker has been mired with controversies related to favouritism in appointments made to the Sri Lankan central bank.

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