Sri Lanka welcomes new President; Ranil Wickremesinghe

Photo Courtesy: Reuters via BBC

(BBC): Ranil Wickremesinghe has been promoted from being Sri Lanka’s prime minister to its new president within a matter of days.

His predecessor, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, fled the country and resigned following months of mass protests over the island’s economic crisis.

Wickremesinghe faces the immediate task of trying to lead Sri Lanka out of economic collapse and restore public order.

Wickremesinghe, a senior MP and leader of the United National Party (UNP) which once ruled Sri Lanka, has run twice for president and lost – in 1999 and 2005.

As reported by the BBC, around the turn of the century, he was a genuine contender to lead the country, but his star subsequently waned.

BBC has also reported that he has been prime minister six times, but has never seen out a full term.

His latest prime ministerial stint began as recently as May, when he was named to the post in an ultimately unsuccessful attempt by Rajapaksa to cling to office.

Wickremesinghe then became acting president on 13 July when Rajapaksa fled.