Sri Lankan President Wickremesinghe Readies Cabinet for Upcoming Presidential Election
Sri Lankan President Wickremesinghe Readies Cabinet for Upcoming Presidential Election

Colombo: President Ranil Wickremesinghe of Sri Lanka has directed his Cabinet to gear up for the upcoming presidential election scheduled for later this year. This move comes as the financially struggling nation works to bounce back from its most severe economic downturn.

According to the country's electoral regulations, the next presidential election must be called by the elections commission by September and conducted by mid-November.

While parliamentary elections are not slated until August 2025, President Wickremesinghe holds the authority to dissolve the 225-member Assembly, elected in August 2020, at any time to call for early elections.

Putting an end to speculations, President Wickremesinghe confirmed during a Cabinet meeting on Monday that the presidential election will precede any parliamentary polls. He instructed the Cabinet to make necessary preparations for the upcoming election, as reported by the Daily Mirror news portal on Tuesday, citing reliable sources.

Referring to the Constitution, the 74-year-old President emphasized that the presidential election takes precedence, and arrangements will be made accordingly.

This election marks the first since Sri Lanka plummeted into a severe economic crisis in 2022. The financially strapped nation, grappling with acute shortages of vital commodities like food and fuel, declared bankruptcy, sparking widespread protests that led to the resignation and subsequent departure of then-President Gotabaya Rajapaksa from the island nation.

Wickremesinghe was elected via a parliamentary vote following Gotabaya's resignation in 2022. He can serve the remaining term of Gotabaya Rajapaksa, which concludes in November of this year.

Furthermore, this election unfolds against the backdrop of an ongoing International Monetary Fund (IMF) recovery program initiated last year. Opposition members have criticized the program, raising concerns about heavy taxation and privatization plans aimed at meeting predefined targets.

A Cabinet statement released last month disclosed that an allocation of Rs 10 billion has been designated "within the financial capacity of the government" to cover expenses related to the presidential and general elections.

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