Parliament to elect new President today

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Parliament will vote to elect a new President today (20) from multiple candidates for the first time in Sri Lankan political history.

The names of three MPs were proposed and seconded in Parliament yesterday (19) for the vacancy of President, with the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Accordingly, the names of Acting President and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, MP Dullas Alahapperuma, and MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake were nominated for the presidency.

Alahapperuma’s name was proposed by Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa and SLPP MP Prof. G.L. Peiris seconded it. Wickremesinghe’s name was proposed by Leader of the House Dinesh Gunawardena and MP Manusha Nanayakkara seconded it.

Dissanayake was proposed by MP Vijitha Herath and MP Dr. Harini Amarasuriya seconded it.

Accordingly, Secretary-General of Parliament Dhammika Dasanayake announced that the nominations of these three candidates were accepted for Succeeding President in accordance with the Presidential Elections (Special Provisions) Act No. 2 of 1981.

Thus, one of these three MPs is to be elected as the Succeeding President by the votes of the MPs today (20).

On 14 July, former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa sent his resignation letter to the Speaker, after he was forced to flee the country following mass protests against him.

Accordingly, Parliament was summoned on 16 July and the Secretary-General of Parliament announced to the House that the office of the President has fallen vacant.

The Opposition Leader, who was set to submit his nomination for the Presidency, backed off at the last moment and nominated Alahapperuma, after having discussions with the latter.

Meanwhile, the group of independent MPs including Wimal Weerawansa and Udaya Gammanpila have decided to extend their support to Alahapperuma.

The SLPP youth wing announced that it will support the decision by the SLPP faction led by Dinesh Gunawardena to elect Ranil Wickremesinghe as the President.

However, SLPP Chairman Prof. G.L. Peiris said a vast majority of the party will vote for Alahapperuma.

The Tamil Progressive Alliance (TPA) decided to support Alahapperuma at the Presidential vote, TPA leader Mano Ganesan said.

The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) and All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) also decided to vote for Alahapperuma.

The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) Central Committee unanimously decided to vote for Alahapperuma as well, SLFP General Secretary Dayasiri Jayasekara said.

By Methmalie Dissanayake