Home / News / Rising through ranks, Ranil Wickremesinghe elected Sri Lanka's new President: 5 facts
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Despite strong public opposition to his candidacy, Ranil Wickremesinghe secured the presidency after winning a parliamentary vote. Ranil Wickremesinghe will remain the President of Sri Lanka until 2024.

Ranil Wickremesinghe is taking over from former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa who fled the country and resigned as massive protests against his government broke out, owing to the depleting economic conditions.

Ranil Wickremesinghe, a lawyer who served as Sri Lanka's prime minister a record six times, won 134 votes, while his primary opponent, Dullas Alahapperuma, bagged 82.

The win for Wickremesinghe, a six-time prime minister, came despite public anger with the ruling elite after months of severe shortages of fuel, food and medicines.

Ranil Wickremesinghe became Sri Lanka's acting president last week after Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled to the Maldives on a military plane and then took a commercial flight to Singapore. He resigned, giving way to the election of the new President.

When we say Ranil Wickremesinghe has "finally" become the President, we mean it. Before this, Ranil unsuccessfully contested for President twice.


1. Ranil Wickremesinghe was made Sri Lanka's youngest cabinet minister by his uncle, President Junius Jayewardene, in 1978 when he was only 29 years old.

2. Following assassinations that wiped out several of his senior colleagues, Wickremesinghe became leader of the UNP in 1994.

3. On July 9, as several protesters swarmed through Colombo and set a part of his personal residence on fire, Wickremesinghe announced that he was willing to step down as prime minister.

4. As Sri Lanka drowned in mass protests due to the severe economic conditions, it was Wickremesinghe who negotiated with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). He also enjoys a working relationship with key donor countries including India.

5. How Ranil Wickremesinghe rose to power is truly remarkable. He became the prime minister in May when Gotabaya Rajapaksa's elder brother, Mahinda Rajapaksa, resigned following violent clashes between pro and anti-government protesters. In July, he was elected the President.

According to a report, he has been criticised for stalling investigations against the Rajapaksa family.

He once said, "Politics is more than chess. It's teamwork like cricket."

(With inputs from agencies)

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