STORY: "For those who seek to destroy, to threaten democracy, they must then be dealt by the law," Wickremesinghe said as he visited one of Colombo's oldest Buddhist temples, "For the others, I would like to bring everyone together so that a national consensus is formed as to the way forward."
The six-time prime minister won 134 votes in the 225-member parliament, despite public anger with the ruling elite after months of severe shortages of fuel, food and medicines. A popular uprising ousted his predecessor Gotabaya Rajapaksa last week.
He denied being close to the Rajapaksa family, seven of whose members were in the government before street protests forced them out.
Wickremesinghe is unpopular among some protesters who stormed his official residence earlier in July when he was prime minister, burning down his private house.
But the response to his win was broadly muted, with just about 100 people gathered on the steps of the presidential secretariat, though some vowed to turn their focus to dislodging him.