Mahinda, Sri Lanka’s 14th Prime Minister | Daily News


Sworn in by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa:

Mahinda, Sri Lanka’s 14th Prime Minister

SWEARING-IN OF NEW PM: Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa who was sworn-in as Prime Minister greets President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the swearing-in ceremony at the Presidential Secretariat yesterday. - AFP
SWEARING-IN OF NEW PM: Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa who was sworn-in as Prime Minister greets President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the swearing-in ceremony at the Presidential Secretariat yesterday. - AFP

Opposition Leader and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday took oaths as Prime Minister of the Republic in a historically unique ceremony of State in which his younger brother, newly elected President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, swore him into office. It was the first time in Sri Lankan history that two democratically elected siblings had taken up the two top positions of governance in the Republic.

After the singing of the National Anthem, at the auspicious time of 1:10 p.m. in the ornate conference room of the Presidential Secretariat – formerly the chamber of the House of Representatives of the old post-colonial Parliament – the two Rajapaksa brothers, both political legends already, stood on the high podium bedecked with national and presidential flags and insignia. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, no doubt quietly proud, watched his elder brother, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, current Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, reading aloud the oath of office of Prime Minister.

Then, attended by Secretary to the President, Dr. P. B. Jayasundara, Mahinda Rajapaksa signed the document of appointment and handed it to his brother, and now, his official superior State officer, thereby becoming the country’s 14th Prime Minister and head of government. In keeping with the new President’s penchant for brisk, simple proceedings, the ceremony quickly ended after the National Anthem was sung for a second time.

Then the two Rajapaksa brothers descended to the well of the chamber – where their politically famous father, D. A. Rajapaksa would have stood during his heyday in Sri Lanka’s early post-colonial legislative politics – and mingled with the attendant dignitaries. Among the first to congratulate the new Prime Minister were outgoing President Maithripala Sirisena and outgoing Prime Minister and UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Mahinda Rajapaksa’s swearing-in ceremony was held after former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe stepped down from his post on Wednesday respecting the massive electoral mandate given to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

The Mahinda-Gotabaya combination was instrumental in winning Sri Lanka’s 26-year-long civil war which caused significant hardships for the population, and stress to the natural environment and economy of the country.

A lawyer by profession, Mahinda Rajapaksa was first elected to Parliament in 1970, and served as Prime Minister from April 6, 2004 until his victory at the 2005 Presidential election. He was re-elected on January 27, 2010 for his second term as the President of the country.

Prime Minister Rajapaksa, as the then President of the country was internationally appreciated for his political leadership in defeating the LTTE in 2009 ending over three decades of secessionist insurgency. On October 26, 2018, he was again appointed as Prime Minister by President Maithripala Sirisena in a controversial 52-day interregnum that ended with judicial rulings and a vote in Parliament.

He has served as a Member of Parliament for Kurunegala since 2015. He served as the President of Sri Lanka and Leader of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party from 2005 to 2015 and most recently became the leader of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP).

The President and Prime Minister are sons of the late D. A. Rajapaksa, an anti-colonial freedom activist and one of the founders of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, who went on to become a senior cabinet minister.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa assumed duties at an auspicious time in the afternoon yesterday at the Prime Minister’s Office at Sir Ernest De Silva Mawatha,Colombo 7 with the Ven Maha Sanga chanting Seth Pirith to invoke blessings.

He hence assumed duties at the Prime Minister’s Office for a third time. Former Ministers, Parliamentarians, a large number of artistes and invitees were present on the occasion.

After the blessings invoked by all religious dignitaries, Mahinda Rajapaksa assumed duties at the Office of the Prime Minister.The Prime Minister appointed former President’s Chief of Staff Gamini Senarath as the Prime Minister’s Secretary.



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