Three candidates were put up on Tuesday to succeed former Sri Lankan president Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who left the country and announced his resignation last week due to the country’s escalating economic crisis.
He flew to Singapore from the Maldives, where he had first fled when protesters overran his palace at the weekend and submitted his resignation through email.
According to Sri Lanka’s constitution, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, whose resignation is also being requested by demonstrators, would automatically assume the role of president until parliament can choose a member of parliament to succeed Rajapaksa for the remaining portion of his tenure.
In a brief ceremony that lasted less than ten minutes at the heavily guarded parliament complex, the three were formally nominated by officials.
Dissanayake, the third contender, is the leader of the left-leaning JVP, or People’s Liberation Front, which holds three parliamentary seats. He is 53 years old.
The next president will serve for the remaining months of Rajapaksa’s tenure, which ends in November 2024.
The 63-year-old Alahapperuma, a rebel SLPP member, won the election after opposition leader Sajith Premadasa withdrew from the campaign and expressed his support for him on Twitter earlier.
Premadasa declared, “I therefore withdraw my candidacy for the role of President for the sake of the greater welfare of my nation, which I adore, and the people I cherish.”
However, Wickremesinghe, 73, a seasoned politician who has served as prime minister six times, has the official support of the SLPP leadership, which is still the largest party in the 225-member parliament.
Abeywardana informed reporters at his home that the legislature would be called on Saturday and that he planned to conclude the election process “within seven days.”