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Sri Lanka crisis

Sri Lanka's new president: Can 'the fox' defy skeptics?

Wickremesinghe has outmaneuvered rivals -- now comes the hard part

Sri Lanka's newly elected president, Ranil Wickremesinghe, speaks to the media in Colombo on July 20.    © Reuters

TOKYO -- Ranil Wickremesinghe, dubbed "the fox" for his uncanny ability to resurrect his political fortunes time and again, has reached the pinnacle of power in Sri Lanka, a country in the throes of an economic crisis. On July 21, Wickremesinghe took office as Sri Lanka's ninth president.

Wickremesinghe had only been named prime minister in May, following the resignation of Mahinda Rajapaksa, returning to his old job after a hiatus of two and a half years. In mid-July, Rajapaksa's younger brother, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, resigned after fleeing the country in the face of mass protests. Wickremesinghe was named Gotabaya's successor by parliament.

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