Written by Aahana Garg, a grade 9 student
Mahinda Rajapaksa was sworn in as the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka on Sunday, 9th August 2020. This is the fourth stint of Mahinda Rajapaksa as Prime Minister of Sri Lanka. He has earlier served as the President of Sri Lanka from 2005 to 2015 and as the Prime Minister in 2004 and briefly in 2018 and 2019.
Mahinda Rajapaksa took the oath before Sri Lankan President and his younger brother Gotabaya Rajapaksa at a prominent Buddhist temple, known as the Kelaniya Raja Maha, in the outskirts of Colombo. A lawyer by profession, Mahinda Rajapaksa belongs to a prominent political family of Sri Lanka. “ I am humbled by the opportunity given to me to serve my people again,” he wrote on Twitter. “The trust that Sri Lankans afford me, inspires me to continue serving my nation. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the new Podujana Peramuna government and I will ensure that the country embarks on a progressive journey during our tenure.”
Five members of the Rajapaksa family have been elected as MPs. In addition to the PM, his son Namal, the eldest brother Chamal and his son Sashindra, and a nephew, Nipuna Ranawaka, will be in Parliament.
The Sri Lankan Podujana Peramuna Party, to which the Rajapaksa brothers belong, won 145 of the 225 seats in Parliament, and five more seats from its allies, thus giving it an exact two-thirds majority. The winning party secured 68.53 lakh votes, followed by the Samagi Jana Balawegaya, which won 27.71 lakh votes. The turnout in the elections, held on August 5 amid the coronavirus pandemic, was, more than 75%.
Rajapaksa is considered to be the most popular Sri Lankan politician of his time, which is reflected in his party’s landslide victory. He is expected to carry out structural changes in Sri Lankan political system leveraging his party’s two-thirds majority.