President Wickremesinghe is an ally of the president whom protesters just forced out.
Ranil Wickremesinghe is the interim president of Sri Lanka per a parliamentary vote, after an unprecedented popular protest brought down former president Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s administration. But while naming an interim president mayhelp the country manage some of its staggering debt, it’s unlikely to bring about the kinds of change protesters demand.
Gotabaya appointed Wickremesinghe prime minister in May after his brother Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned from the post during the protests. Now, Wickremesinghe — who served as prime minister five previous times and was also finance minister during his most recent term — will serve as president until the country holds a popular vote in 2024.
Wickremesinghe’s closeness with the Rajapaksa clan — Gotabaya and Mahinda, who was president from 2005 to 2015; their brother Basil, the former finance minister; their brother Chamal, who has held multiple posts; and Mahinda’s son Namal, who served as sports minister under Gotabaya — has made him unpopular with protesters.