Sri Lankans ponder options after president resigns

STORY: After suffering from crippling shortages of petrol and diesel and runaway prices of basic items like vegetables and bread for months under the rule of Rajapaksa and his brothers, Sri Lankans are now waiting for lawmakers to elect a new president on July 20.

Until then, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe will be the interim president, although protesters want him gone too. His private residence was set ablaze by demonstrators last weekend and his office stormed this week.

Nevertheless, the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna party on Friday (July 15) nominated Wickremesinghe to take up the top job full-time. The opposition's presidential nominee is Sajith Premadasa, while the potential dark horse is senior lawmaker Dullas Alahapperuma.

"Of the three candidates, if we support the most suitable person, things will be alright,’ said social worker Mohamed Ismath. ‘If they only want the position then things will get worse.’

Street protests over Sri Lanka's economic meltdown simmered for months before boiling over last weekend when hundreds of thousands of people took over government buildings in Colombo, blaming the Rajapaksa family and allies for runaway inflation, shortages of basic goods, and corruption.

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