Sri Lanka‘s parliament began voting Wednesday for a president to replace Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who fled abroad after his palace was stormed by angry protesters now bracing for a crackdown from his likely successor.
One by one, the legislators entered ballot booths set up on the floor of the chamber to choose between three candidates to lead the crisis-wracked country.
“Members are reminded that taking photographs of ballot papers or displaying them to others is an offence,” parliamentary secretary-general Dhammika Dasanayake told them. Previous elections have been marred by allegations of corruption and vote-buying.
The winner will take charge of a bankrupt nation that is in bailout talks with the IMF, with its 22 million people enduring severe shortages of food, fuel and medicine.
Outside the parliament, hundreds of heavily armed troops and police stood guard, but there were no signs of demonstrators.