Special Supplement

Biography of Mahinda Rajapaksa

Published : 18 Mar 2021 08:04 PM

Mahinda Rajapaksa was sworn in as Prime Minister of Sri Lanka for the fourth time at a Buddhist temple on Colombo's outskirts on August 9, 2020.

He was the 5th President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. His election for a second term of office in the Presidential Election, held on January 26, 2010, saw the Sri Lankan electorate recognising him as the national leader who liberated the country from the terrorism of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), and set the country on the path to peace, stronger democracy and rapid economic development. 

The re-election of Mahinda Rajapaksa took place in the first nationwide election held after the defeat of the LTTE in May in 2009, and the first where people from all parts of the country were free to participate in elections after more than two decades.

Mahinda Rajapaksa, the second son in a family of six brothers and three sisters, was born in Weeraketiya in Sri Lanka’s Deep South, on November 18, 1945, and was brought up from his early years in keeping with Sinhala-Buddhist traditions. Family tradition was also seen with his first schooling at Richmond College, in the southern city of Galle, where his father D.A. Rajapaksa, uncle, and cousins who also entered politics, were first schooled. His education was later shifted to Nalanda College and Thurstan College in Colombo. He later studied law at the Colombo Law College, and qualified as an Attorney-at-Law.

Mahinda Rajapaksa was 24 years when first elected to Parliament as an SLFP member from the Beliatta electorate in 1970. He was then the youngest Member of Parliament and represented the same electorate his father did. He practiced law mainly in the southern town of Tangalle, from 1977 to 1994, which kept him closely in touch with the people and their needs, and also the development needs of the southern region, until his appointment as a Minister in 1994. After losing his parliamentary seat in 1977, he regained it in the parliamentary election that followed in 1989. He was re-elected to Parliament from the Hambantota District under proportional representation, and held that position until his election as Executive President in November 2005.

Mahinda Rajapaksa is married to Shiranthi Wickremasinghe Rajapaksa and they have three sons: Namal, Yoshitha and Rohitha.