Ranil Elected Eighth Executive President

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Six times Prime Minister and UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe became the Eighth Executive President of Sri Lanka by polling 134 votes out of 225 legislators present in Parliament yesterday (20).

Wickremesinghe, who polled 52 votes more than his opponent Dullas Alahapperuma, who came second by polling 82 MPs’ votes. Third candidate Anura Kumara Dissanayake received three votes.

The Parliament Chamber was converted into a polling booth for the first time in its 40-year history and Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena at 10:00 a.m. advised all legislators to follow procedure and adhere to best behaviour when exercising their democratic rights.

Secretary General Dhammika Dasanayaka, who functioned as the Returning Officer explained the voting procedure to all members. Deputy Secretary General Kushani Rohanadheera called MPs by name and the ballot paper was handed over to each MP. Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena first cast his vote, followed by Acting President and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe.

Total number of votes cast was 223 with Parliamentarians Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam and S. Gajendran abstaining from voting. Four votes were designated as invalid votes. Kurunegala District MP Samanpriya Herath and Digamadulla District MP D. Weerasinghe, who came for the election from hospital, were facilitated to the polling booth by Parliament staff.

At around 11:45 a.m. counting of the ballot began with SG Dasanayake announcing three candidates or an MP named by the three candidates as their representatives to be present as observers. Accordingly, Wickremesinghe named Harin Fernando as his representative while Dullas Alahapperuma named Dilan Perera and Anura Kumara Dissanayake named Vijitha Herath as their representatives. 

Secretary General Dasanayake announced to the House that Ranil Wickremesinghe is to be elected as the Eighth Executive President. Also, according to the Presidential Elections (Special Provisions) Act (No. 2 of 1981), the relevant gazette notification signed by the Secretary General of Parliament was issued last evening.

By Gagani Weerakoon and Methmalie Dissanayake