After Sri Lanka ousts president, economic crisis could still fuel unrest
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COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — When Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was chased from office by protesters this month, his government became the first in the world to be felled so dramatically by the double punch of the pandemic and economic fallout from the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The choice of his successor, Ranil Wickremesinghe, by parliament this week does little by itself to ease the economic distress that brought tens of thousands of Sri Lankans onto streets across the country.
Wickremesinghe, a six-time former prime minister, inherits a bankrupt nation with a collapsed economy and now faces a daunting task. The country defaulted on its $51 billion foreign debt in May. Miles-long fuel queues stretch along the streets of Colombo, sky-high food inflation has pushed people into poverty and the country’s currency has depreciated sharply.
Many economists say that the next step for Sri Lanka is a…