President Mahinda Rajapaksa completes 43 years in politics today. He first entered Parliament having won the Beliatta seat at the general election held on May 27, 1970.
This seat was represented in Parliament by his father D. A. Rajapaksa who passed away in 1967. MP Mahinda Rajapaksa was 24 years and the youngest Member of Parliament then, when Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike was the Prime Minister.
Although he was defeated in the wave of the 1977 general election loss, he did not lose the common touch and continued to be a true friend of the masses with the courage to face any situation irrespective of the consequences.
Born on November 18, 1945 in Weeraketiya, the second son of six children of a famous political family of the South, it was destiny that drove young Mahinda to tread the political path first taken by his uncle D M Rajapaksa and by his father D A Rajapaksa who played a key role in founding the Sri Lanka Freedom Party after joining hands with S W R D Bandaranaike resigning from the D S Senanayake government to steer the nation on a righteous path and enthrone the common man.
In 1973, he entered Law College and was responsible in the formation of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party Lawyers’ Association. After taking oaths as a lawyer, he did his apprenticeship under well-known legal luminary Daya Perera.
He won at the 1989 general elections held for the first time under the Proportional Representation System representing the Hambantota district.
Winning the 1994 elections, he served the country as the Labour Minister until 1997 and with the Cabinet reshuffle he was appointed Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Minister.
In 2002, he was elected the Opposition leader and on April 6, 2004, he was appointed Sri Lanka’s 13th Prime Minister.
He was elected the 5th Executive President of Sri Lanka at the Presidential Elections held on November 17, 2005, a day before his birthday.
President Rajapaksa’s monumental contribution to the nation was his presiding over the crushing defeat of terrorism and bringing peace back to the country.
He was elected as President for a second term winning the election with a massive majority in 2010.
President Rajapaksa was conferred with an honorary doctorate by the Beijing Foreign Studies University and was appointed the Chairman of the 15 G- Summit from 2010 to 2012 .