Sri Lankans protest Wickremesinghe's presidency bid

STORY: Angry demonstrators gathered on the streets of Colombo on Tuesday (July 19).

Burning an effigy of Ranil Wickremesinge ahead of his expected bid for Sri Lanka's presidency.

The 225-seat parliament votes on Wednesday to choose the new leader.

After a popular uprising against the rule of the Rajapaksa family forced Gotabaya Rajapaksa to flee to Singapore and resign.

Protesters chanted outside the Presidential Secretariat, frustrated by months-long shortages of fuel and food and rocketing prices after the country nearly ran out of dollars for imports.

Visakha Jayaveera and Devinda Kodagoda were among the crowds..

"We are here today because the president, who is Acting President Ranil Wickremesinghe, he was appointed to the parliament without any vote base. So, we are against it. We are here to say that the president has to be a person who loves our country and who has come on vote base to the parliament. So, we hare here to say that - for him to step down."

“He is going to ask for the vote to become the next President and it is clearly against the people's power which we showed on 9th July. This protest is to state clearly and show our displeasure. And we say that Ranil Wickremesinghe must not be the next president of Sri Lanka."

Three candidates were finalized on Tuesday - Ranil Wickremesinghe, Sajith Premadasa and Dullas Alahapperuma.

Sajith Premadasa has since said he has dropped out of the race and would support Alahapperuma, who is seen as more acceptable to the protestors.

Wickremesinghe is deeply unpopular among those who stormed his office and official residence earlier this month.

Nevertheless, he is backed by a faction of the ruling party to be president.

Former journalist and five-time lawmaker Alahapperuma has the support of a separate faction of the ruling (SLPP) party.

The next president will complete Rajapaksa's term that was scheduled to end in 2024.

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