The new president of Sri Lanka, Ranil Wickremesinghe, has taken office on Thursday, in a ceremony held a day after his election by the Parliament and in the context of anti-government demonstrations, whose main demands include his resignation.
Wickremesinghe, 73, has thus become the eighth president of the country after a ceremony on the premises of the Parliament before the chief justice of the Supreme Court, Jayantha Jayasuriya, as reported by the Ceylonese newspaper ‘Daily Mirror’.
The new president, who had been in office on an interim basis since Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled the country last week, on Wednesday reached out to opposition leader Sajith Premadasa and other opposition groups to “work together”.
Rajapaksa left the country for Singapore, with a previous stop in the Maldives, amid massive demonstrations to demand his resignation due to the very serious economic and social crisis the island is going through. Before resigning, he appointed Wickremesinghe, his prime minister, as interim president.
The former president gave in after months of protests over rising prices, lack of food, medicine and fuel, which has put the small Asian island in front of its worst economic crisis since it gained independence from the British colonial yoke. The popular revolution has led to the fall of the Rajapaksa family, after Gotabaya forced his brother Mahinda to step down as prime minister at the beginning of May in an attempt to put an end to the protests.