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Sri Lankan parliament elects Ranil Wickremesinghe as president

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By Bella Jewell
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Ranil Wickremesinghe
Ranil Wickremesinghe   -   Copyright  Eranga Jayawardena/Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

Sri Lankan MPs voted on Wednesday to elect six-time former Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, as president of the island. 

Wickremesinghe has been acting president since Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled the country due to growing political turmoil on the island.

Sri Lanka is currently experiencing its worst economic crisis in living memory, with citizens facing shortages of food, fuel and other supplies. 

This has caused growing discontent among Sri Lankans, who have been protesting for months; last week tensions came to a head when protesters burned down Rajapaksa's home.

President Wickremesinghe's, 73, had one main challenger for the role, but former minister Dullus Alahapperuma was defeated 134 votes to 82 in parliament on Wednesday. 

There is some concern, however, that Wednesday's vote could reignite protests due to President Wickremesinghe's history - he has been involved in Sri Lankan politics for the last 45 years. 

As a result, the political dinosaur is strongly disliked by many voters, who view him as part of the country's political elite.