President’s birthday today | Daily News


President’s birthday today

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa turns 71 today. The President will participate in religious observances at several places of worship belonging to all religions today to mark this occasion in a simple manner, giving prominence to seeking the blessings of religious dignitaries for the country and its people to emerge stronger in the post-pandemic era.

Born on June 20, 1949, in Palatuwa in the Matara District to parents of nine children, Nandasena Gotabaya Rajapaksa was the fifth child. He was brought up in Weerakatiya and obtained his education at Ananda College, Colombo. His public service started at an early age with the decision to join the Sri Lanka Army. He joined the Sri Lanka Army as a Cadet Officer in 1971 and his time in the military included battlefront experience in some of the most hard-fought battles in the war. As a reward for gallantry and excellence in combat, he was awarded the Rana Wickrama Padakkama (RWP) and Rana Sura Padakkama (RSP) in 1991.

In 2005, with the victory of Mahinda Rajapaksa at the Presidential Election, Gotabaya Rajapaksa was appointed the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence where he played a key role in ending the three-decade-long war through an expertly-conceived and skillfully-coordinated military strategy. Gotabaya Rajapaksa survived an LTTE assassination attempt at the Piththala Junction in Colombo in December 2006. In 2010, following the second-term victory of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s official responsibilities were expanded to include both Defence and Urban Development.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa announced that he was ready to face the challenge of becoming the SLPP presidential candidate in April 2019, which was confirmed by his brother Mahinda Rajapaksa at a special convention of the SLPP, which had recorded a remarkable victory in 2018 at the Local Government Polls. His manifesto for the 2019 Presidential Election was titled “Vistas of Prosperity” and includes a comprehensive overhaul of the economy, national security, infrastructure development, social welfare, education, health and several other aspects of a rapidly modernising country. He has indicated a tough stance on corruption at all levels. He won the Presidential Election on November 16, 2019 and was sworn in at Anuradhapura. He is the first retired military officer as well as the first public servant to become the President. 

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