Leader of the United National Party and six-time Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has been elected by Parliament as the Eighth Executive President of Sri Lanka.
The UNP Leader replaced former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa who resigned from the post last week, as the Head of State.
A Parliamentary vote was held today to elect the succeeding President, in accordance with the provisions of the Presidential Elections (Special Provisions) Act No. 2 of 1981.
Accordingly, 134 Members of Parliament voted in favour of UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe during today’s election.
Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna Parliamentarian Dullas Alahapperuma received 82 votes while Leader of the National People’s Power Anura Kumara Dissanayake received three votes during the election.
223 Members of Parliament voted during this morning’s Parliamentary election to pick the Eighth Executive President of Sri Lanka.
Ahila Ilankai Thamil Congress Parliamentarians GG Ponnambalam and Selvarajah Kajendren abstained from voting while four other ballots were rejected.
Accordingly, 219 valid votes were cast to elect the new President. Counting of ballots took place in the presence of three MPs.
MP Harin Fernando observed the counting on behalf of acting President Ranil Wickremesinghe, while MP Dilan Perera monitored the vote count on behalf of SLPP MP Dullas Alahapperuma.
MP Vijitha Herath observed the process on behalf of MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake. Accordingly, votes were tallied by Secretary General of Parliament Dhammika Dassanayake and the Parliamentary staff.
Secretary General Dhammika Dassanayake then announced that Parliament has elected UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe as the President of Sri Lanka.
President-elect Ranil Wickremesinghe, who was elected to Parliament from the UNP in 1977, holds the record of representing the Parliament of Sri Lanka 42 years consecutively up until the eighth Parliament and also holds the record for holding office as the Prime Minister.
Ranil Wickremesinghe was elected to the ninth Parliament on June 23rd, 2021 as a National List Member representing the United National Party.
UNP Leader Wickremesinghe has now been in Parliament for 45 years.
He has held a number of positions in the political sphere including as a Cabinet Minister, the Leader of the House and Leader of the Opposition.
In 1977, under the JR Jayewardene Government, Ranil Wickremesinghe became the youngest Cabinet Minister of Sri Lanka holding the position of Minister of Youth Affairs and Employment.
President-elect Ranil Wickremesinghe also served as the Leader of the House of Parliament from March 06th, 1989 to May 07th, 1993 and was the Leader of the Opposition from 1994 to 2001 and from 2004 to 2015.
Born on March 24th, 1949, President-elect Wickremesinghe studied at Royal College, Colombo, and was later elected to the Law Faculty of the University of Colombo and was sworn in as a Lawyer.
Ranil Wickremesinghe is the only person in Sri Lanka to hold office of the President and Prime Minister after graduating from a Sri Lankan University.
Meanwhile, last week, the private residence of President-elect Ranil Wickremesinghe was torched by mobs.
Despite the events, Ranil Wickremesinghe continued to steer the country as the acting President of the country until today’s vote.
Accordingly, the Parliamentary process to elect a new President concluded .
Meanwhile, President-elect Ranil Wickremesinghe says the government is responsible for formulating a new programme that will ensure the country’s way forward.
President-elect Wickremesinghe called on MPs Dullas Alahapperuma, Anura Kumara Dissanayake and Leader of the Opposition Sajith Premadasa, R Sampanthan, former Head of State Maithripala Sirisena, and CV Vigneswaran to unite in order to formulate a new programme to overcome all obstacles.
Speaking in Parliament after the announcement of the results of today’s vote to elect a President, the President-elect said the public does not want old politics and therefore Parliament must unite and work towards specific goals.
Wickremesinghe said Speaker of House Mahinda Yapa Abeywardana and he commenced their political careers together in 1973.
President-elect Wickremesinghe said it brings him joy that his victory was announced by the Speaker.
The President-elect said 43 years of his life has been spent in Parliament and thanked Parliament for providing him this honour.
President-elect Wickremesinghe added 31-years ago a similar situation occurred following the assassination of former President Ranasinghe Premadasa in 1993.
The President-elect said DB Wijetunga was elected without a contest while 15 MPs who contributed to the win at the time are currently in Parliament.
President-elect Wickremesinghe said this was the only instance a vote was held to select a Head of State in Parliament adding however they were able to conduct and elect a President without any incident through discussion.
President-elect Wickremesinghe conveyed his gratitude to all Parliamentarians who worked towards his victory and for all other MPs who participated and voted at the election.
The President-elect said it is common knowledge that the country is facing great difficulties, and the country’s youth are demanding a change in system.
He claimed there are also many issues in the world and Sri Lanka should ensure to move forward without getting involved.
Parliament convened at 10am under the auspices of Speaker of House Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena.
Subsequently the announcement regarding the vote was made and Secretary General of Parliament Dhammika Dassanayake detailed the voting process.
Secretary General of Parliament Dhammika Dassanayake presided over the Parliamentary vote. Voting began with Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena casting the first ballot.