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PM Wickremesinghe becomes interim Sri Lankan president

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was sworn in as Sri Lanka’s interim president Friday until Parliament elects a successor to Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who resigned after mass protests over the country’s economic collapse forced him from office, AP reports.

The speaker of Sri Lanka’s Parliament said Rajapaksa resigned as president effective Thursday and lawmakers will convene Saturday to choose a new leader.

Their choice would serve out the remainder of Rajapaksa’s term ending in 2024, said Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardana. He expects the process to be done in seven days.

That person could potentially appoint a new prime minister, who would then have to be approved by Parliament. With Rajapaksa done, pressure on Wickremesinghe was rising.

Opponents had viewed his appointment as prime minister in May as alleviating pressure on Rajapaksa to resign. He became the acting president when Rajapaksa fled Sri Lanka on Wednesday.

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