Happy B'Day Mr. President
Theruwan Saranai! Ayubowan! Vanakkam! Assalamu Alekkum!
"To our land, you are the light that banished all its fears
To us- your people- you are the President who will herald in a prosperous future"
President Mahinda Rajapaksa set a unique, dual record in Sri Lankan political history by becoming the first Executive President to win the second Presidential Elections with a higher majority and by leading his party- the ruling United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) to a landslide victory in Parliamentary Elections held merely over two months after the Presidential Elections.
The fifth Executive President of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa, is a courageous former Prime Minister, an unmatched Leader of the Opposition, a valiant Member of Parliament, vociferous lawyer, human rights activist and trade unionist - coming from a family with a long-standing tradition of serving the people setting aside, race or religion, caste or creed.
He succeeded his father- veteran politician DA Rajapaksa to Sri Lanka’s Parliament in the 1970 polls, showing strong support his family has had for decades from the poor and voiceless peoples in Sri Lanka’s southern Hambantota District- now emerging into a global mega port city.
Born in 1945, President Rajapaksa was first elected to the Parliament in 1970 in the United Freedom Front Government led by Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranayake, became the youngest-ever MP to enter the Sri Lanka’s Parliament at the age of 24.
He has held several important cabinet portfolios including the Minister of Labour in the Peoples Alliance (PA) Government in 1994 and Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources from 1997. He served as Prime Minister of Sri Lanka from April 6, 2004 and was sworn in as the sixth Executive President for a six-year term on Nov 19, 2005.
He was conferred with two Honorary Doctorates. First one is a Doctor of Law by the University of Colombo on September 6, 2009. Second degree was awarded by the Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia on February 6, 2010 for his contribution for world peace and outstanding success in defeating terrorism.
His success in Presidential and Parliamentary Elections in January and April, 2010 respectively, came after a series of sweeping poll victories in eight Provincial Councils by the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) led by him.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the fifth Executive President of Sri Lanka, was elected for a second term of office in the Presidential Election held on January 26, 2010, with the Sri Lankan voters recognizing 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 and rapid economic development.
• Elected to parliament in 1970 at the age of 24
• Elected Leader of the Opposition in 2002
• Appointed Prime Minister on April 6, 2004
• Sworn in as the fifth Executive President on November 19, 2005
• Elected to a second term polling 6,015,934 votes at the Presidential Election held on January 26, 2010
• May 19, 2009- Became first Sri Lankan Head of State and only world leader in recent times to overcome division of Sri Lanka by end a thirty-year bloody civil war fought by world’s most ruthless terrorist outfit- LTTE
• Awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the Peoples’ Friendship University of the Russian Federation
• Elected Chairman of G15 from 2010- 2012
• Elected Chairman of SAARC at fifteenth Summit
In the Presidential Election held on January 26, 2010, he won with 6,015,934 votes or 57.8 per cent of the votes cast, while his closest rival, former Amy Commander General (Rtd.) Sarath Fonseka obtained only 4,173,185 votes 40.15 per cent. The re-election of Mahinda Rajapaksa took place in the first nationwide election held after the defeat of the LTTE in 2009 May, and the first ever polls where people from all parts of the country were free to participate in more than two decades.
In the last Presidential Election held in November 2005, Mahinda Rajapaksa, as candidate of the United Progressive Freedom Alliance (UPFA) was elected fifth Executive President obtaining 50.29% or 4,887,152 votes polled, while his closest rival Ranil Wickremesinghe, leading the United National Party (UNP) obtained 47.43% or 4,706,366 votes.
Political analysts opine that his victory in 2005 election was a clear endorsement by the people of the leadership given by him to defeat the LTTE, eradicate terrorism and restore peace; stand up against unfriendly forces of the West, both countries and institutions, that tried to pressure the Government to have a ceasefire with the LTTE, as it was facing the final military rout; and his commitment to continue development of the country under policies he initiated while carrying on a costly war against terrorism.
Early in the fourth year of his six-year term, President Mahinda Rajapaksa etched his name in the records of Sri Lankan history as the national leader who ended a three decade long-drawn war against the forces of separatist terrorism that threatened the , independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country; gave leadership to defeat the most ruthless terrorist organization in the world; withstood international pressure for a ceasefire with terrorists; united the country under the single National Flag, and embarked on an ambitious programme to ensure democracy throughout the country, bringing a new political vision that seeks both Development and Reconciliation to build a New Sri Lankan Nation.