Sri Lanka's interim president, Ranil Wickramasinghe, has been elected president of the country, Reuters reports after the count of votes in parliament.
Wickramasinghe will serve until November 2024. He will appoint a new Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, the candidacy will have to be approved by Parliament.
After Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa formally resigned via email, protesters demanded that Wikramasinghe resign as well and set fire to his residence. On July 15, Wickramasinghe became the interim president of the country.
Rajapaksa fled Sri Lanka for the Maldives amid mass protests. The president's plane landed in Singapore, in connection with his flight on July 13, the authorities on the island declared a state of emergency.
Protests in Sri Lanka erupted on July 9 amid the economic crisis that began in April. Experts call it the largest since 1948, when the country gained independence from Great Britain. Now there is no food, medicine and fuel on the island. According to the UN, four out of five people on the island skip meals due to poverty. Inflation in Sri Lanka reached 54.6%, external debt – $ 51 billion. Also, the country is experiencing the depletion of foreign exchange reserves, Sri Lanka cannot buy fuel, fertilizers, food and medicine. At the end of 2019, the reserves amounted to $7.6 billion, in March 2020 – $1.93 billion, and in April 2022 – $50 million. For the first time in the history of the country, Sri Lanka was unable to pay its external debt.