Sri Lanka kicks off process to choose new president

The Sri Lankan parliament met on Saturday to begin choosing a new leader to serve the rest of the current term after the president fled abroad and resigned following mass protests over the country’s economic collapse.

Parliament Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena promised a swift and transparent political process that should be completed within a week.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was sworn in on Friday as interim president until parliament elects a successor to Gotabaya Rajapaksa, whose term ends in 2024.

Protesters in the crisis-hit island nation, however, insist the six-time prime minister too should step aside. The new president could appoint a legislator to replace Wickremesinghe.

Nominations for the presidential post will be heard on Tuesday, the parliament’s secretary general Dhammika Dasanayake said during a brief session. If there is more than one candidate for the president, the legislators will vote on Wednesday.