Sri Lanka’s parliament to elect president Wednesday with vast authoritarian powers in fraudulent anti-democratic exercise | #government | #hacking | #cyberattack

Sri Lanka’s parliament will elect a president Wednesday to complete the nearly two years remaining in the term of the would-be autocrat Gotabhaya Rajapakse, who was chased from power by months of mass strikes and protests. These culminated in an explosion of popular anger on July 9, when more than a million people descended on the capital, Colombo, in defiance of government emergency orders and threats of mass repression.

In a statement issued Monday, the Socialist Equality Party (SEP) denounced today’s vote as “a fraud and a conspiracy against the working class, youth and rural poor.” Noting that many of the protesters have demanded the resignation of all 225 parliamentarians, the SEP statement emphasized: “The parliament does not in any way represent the political sentiments and interests of the working masses, that is, the absolute majority of society.”

For several days starting July 9, protesters occupied the presidential palace.

All three candidates nominated to succeed Rajapakse at Tuesday’s parliamentary session—Ranil Wickremesinghe, Dallas Alahapperuma and Anura Kumara Dissanayakeare ready to implement sweeping austerity measures to secure an emergency loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). They all have long records as capitalist politicians dedicated to upholding the interests of big business and international finance capital against the working class and rural toilers.

Wickremesinghe, the leader of the right-wing United National Party (UNP), is a corrupt political hack, notorious as a lackey of US imperialism and a ruthless implementer of IMF austerity measures. Despite his being his party’s sole MP, a beleaguered Gotabhaya Rajapakse installed him as prime minster for the sixth time since 1993 on May 12, after his brother, Mahinda Rajapakse, was forced to resign after initiating a failed attempt to suppress the mass anti-government protests through goon and state violence.

Wickremesinghe manoeuvred to have himself appointed as interim president by Gotabhaya Rajapakse as he fled the country last week, and since then has initiated steps to bloodily repress the popular uprising.

Wickremesinghe was formally nominated for the presidency yesterday by Dinesh Gunawardena, a senior leader of Rajapakse’s Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP). He apparently enjoys the backing of the ousted president and much of the SLPP, which, while weakened by splits, still holds the majority of seats in parliament.

Dallas Alahapperuma, is also an SLPP MP. The bulk of his support in the parliamentary presidential vote, however, will come from the ostensible opposition, with whom he and a breakaway group of SLPP supporters have cut a deal.

At the beginning of his political career, Alahapperuma, tried to posture as a “left.” He served in the Peoples Alliance government, elected in 1994 under the leadership of then president Chandrika Kumaratunga and held several portfolios such as youth affairs and sports. Later he became a close confidante of the Rajapakses. He held various posts during the 10-year tenure (2005-15) of Mahinda Rajapakse as president, and was the minster of power and later mass media in President Gotabhaya Rajapakse’s government.

Now he is trying to distance himself from the Rajapakses, while remaining an SLPP parliamentarian, with the transparent aim of securing personal pelf and power.

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