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Ranil Wickremesinghe took oath as Sri Lanka's eighth president today. 73- year-old veteran politician was sworn in at the parliament premises before Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya. He will appoint a new prime minister within the course of the day. 

He was elected as Sri Lanka's President by lawmakers on Wednesday. Wickremesinghe secured 134 votes in the 225-member House while his nearest rival and dissident ruling party leader Dullas Alahapperuma got 82. Leftist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake secured just three votes during the voting held in Parliament amidst tight security.

In his victory speech, Ranil Wickremesinghe thanked Parliament for upholding democratic practices and sought support from both the presidential rivals as well as former presidents Mahinda Rajapaksa and Maithripala Sirisena. He also asked Tamil leaders to join him.

"I need not tell you about the current state of the country, how difficult it is. The economy and the young are asking for change. There are many problems in the world. We have to go forward without getting entangled," he said.

Wickremesinghe said all concerned must get together to "make a new programme".

"What people demand from us is not old politics, they want the parliament to work together," he added.

He said he was willing to start the party consultation process from Thursday and urged the parties for bipartisanship.

"I have worked in this Parliament for 45 years. My life is this Parliament. I am thankful to parliament for giving me this honour," Wickremesinghe said.

Wickremesinghe, who took over as the Acting President after ex-President Gotabaya Rajapksa fled the country and resigned, is the first Sri Lankan president to be elected by Parliament as per the Constitution.

Wickremesinghe will have a mandate to serve out the rest of Rajapaksa’s term, which ends in November 2024.

Wickremesinghe, who has been in Parliament for nearly five decades, was appointed as prime minister in May,

Sri Lanka needs about USD 5 billion in the next six months to cover basic necessities for its 22 million people, who have been struggling with long queues, worsening shortages and power cuts.

 

 

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