Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka Crisis: Voting begins in Parliament to elect the next President


Sri Lanka Crisis: On Wednesday, the Sri Lankan Parliament will vote to choose the country’s next president after Gotabaya Rajapaksa resigned and left the country last week as a result of protracted demonstrations. Ranil Wickremesinghe, the acting president, Dullas Alahapperuma, a politician from the ruling party, and Anura Kumara Dissanayaka, the head of the left-leaning Janatha Vimukti Peramuna party, are the contenders. Mahinda Rajapaksa will vote in the House.

A portion of the ruling party, which has 145 seats overall as of the most recent parliamentary election in 2020, supports Wickremesinghe. According to Reuters, Alahapperuma has the backing of both the other sector and the major opposition party, which last time around won 54 seats.

Gopal Baglay, the Indian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka, stated that India will support an “early and successful” economic recovery for Sri Lanka. As a result, India, which has provided Sri Lanka with approximately $4 billion in aid, would “moving ahead” to attract “additional investment” to aid the nation in developing the skills necessary to address the country’s economic issues, according to Baglay.

For the first time in 44 years, Sri Lanka’s Parliament will choose a president of this country. They were elected by the general public in the presidential elections of 1982, 1988, 1994, 1999, 2005, 2010, 2015, and 2019.

Only once before, in 1993, when President Ranasinghe Premadasa was killed, did the office of the President become vacant mid-term. The Parliament overwhelmingly chose DB Wijetunga to complete Premadasa’s term.

Rajapaksa’s final term ends in November 2024, when the new president who was elected on Wednesday would take office. On July 27, following the election, Parliament will reconvene.

How are elections conducted?

On July 20, the Parliament will convene at 10 a.m. to choose the new president. Each MP has one vote, and the voting is done in private.

However, when there are many candidates (as there is this year), MPs are permitted to rank their choices, using the numbers 1 for their first choice, 2 for the second, etc., according to SL-based NewsFirst. A candidate is deemed the winner if they receive more than 50% of the vote. If not, the candidate with the fewest votes is removed, and the second choice of every MP whose vote was counted, according to the report.

According to Daily Mirror writer Jamila Husain, the Sri Lankan Speaker has stated that during the election, MPs are not permitted to enter the House with their cell phones in hand. The action was taken in response to reports that certain party leaders asked their MPs to snap pictures of their ballots. The ballots will be used for a secret vote.