Sri Lanka’s acting president renewed the country’s state of emergency Monday ahead of a parliamentary vote to pick a new head of state — a poll in which he is a leading candidate. Ranil Wickremesinghe automatically became acting president when Gotabaya Rajapaksa resigned last week after fleeing to Singapore. A state of emergency allows troops to arrest and detain suspects, and the president to make regulations overriding existing laws to deal with any unrest. One was already in place but parliament had not met to ratify the declaration as required, and Wickremesinghe extended it from Monday “in the interests of public security”, he said. Police and the military, armed with emergency powers, stepped up security in the capital ahead of Wednesday’s election of a new president. Wickremesinghe, a six-time former prime minister, is being backed for the position by Rajapaksa’s party, which remains the largest in the legislature. In what was seen as a possible appeal to 14 Catholic legislators for their support, Wickremesinghe said he had asked Britain’s help to complete investigations into the 2019 Easter Sunday bombings that killed 279 people.