Sri Lanka is voting to elect a new president as the country is engulfed in a deepening economic crisis and its 22 million people suffer from shortages of basic supplies, including food. and fuel. The elections are being held after the resignation of Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who is accused of mismanaging the island nation’s economy.
Here are the three contenders in the race for the top spot
- Acting President Ranil Wickremesinghe, 73, has the backing of the SLPP of Rajapaksas, the largest bloc in the 225-member parliament. An opposition MP said Wickremesinghe’s tough stance against protesters was going down well with MPs who had previously faced mob violence, and most SLPP lawmakers would take sides he. Observers say that if Wickremesinghe wins, he will crack down on protesters who have accused him of defending Rajapaksas’ interests.
- Wickremesinghe’s main opponents will be the SLPP dissident and former education minister Dullas Alahapperuma, a former journalist backed by the opposition. If won, the 63-year-old is expected to appoint opposition leader Sajith Premadasa as prime minister. Premadasa withdrew his candidacy and said he was supporting Alahapperuma. Analysts say the Opposition hasn’t let anything happen to keep Wickeremesinghe out of power. This is why Premadasa withdrew her candidacy, they said.
- The third candidate is Anura Dissanayake, 53, leader of the left-wing People’s Liberation Front, a coalition with three parliamentary seats. Before that, he served as the country’s cabinet minister for agriculture, livestock, land and irrigation.
(With input from Reuters and AFP)