Sri Lanka’s former President Mahinda Rajapaksa was sworn in as the prime minister for the fourth time Sunday (Aug.9) after his party Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) secured a landslide victory in parliamentary elections. Mahinda Rajapaksa was administered the oath of office for the ninth Parliament by his younger brother and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the sacred Rajamaha Viharaya in Kelaniya, a north Colombo suburb.
The 74-year-old Sri Lanka People’s Party (SLPP) leader was administered the oath of office for the ninth Parliament by his younger brother and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the sacred Rajamaha Viharaya in Kelaniya, a north Colombo suburb.
Mahinda Rajapaksa completed 50 years of parliamentary politics in July this year. He was elected as a Member of Parliament at the young age of 24 in 1970. He has since been elected President twice and has been appointed Prime Minister thrice. The SLPP, led by Mahinda Rajapaksa, registered a landslide victory in the August 5 general election, securing two-thirds majority in Parliament needed to amend the Constitution to further consolidate the powerful Rajapaksa family’s grip on power.
Mahinda Rajapaksa served as the island nation’s president from 2005 to 2015 and is highly popular among the ethnic majority Sinhalese for ending the country’s 25-year civil war against Tamil rebels in 2009.
He was first elected prime minister in 2004 and again appointed for brief periods in 2018 and 2019.
Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) — the party led by the Rajapaksa brothers — won 145 seats in the 225-member Parliament in the election last Wednesday. Its main opponent obtained only 54 seats. A party representing ethnic minority Tamils won 10 seats, and 16 others were split among 12 small parties.
The victory gave the governing party nearly the two-third majority of seats required to make constitutional changes that could strengthen dynastic rule in the country.