Free Press Journal

Maithripala Sirisena: All  You Need To Know


Maithripala Sirisena, 63, defeated the two time President Mahinda Rajapaksa and ending the reign of the Rajapaksa dynasty. Here are some facts about him:

  • He is the son of a World War II veteran.
  • He studied at Maxim Gorky Literature Institute in the erstwhile USSR.
  • He entered the Sri Lankan Parliament in 1989 from his native place Polonnaruwa, where he had worked as a local government official earlier.
  • He is a farmer turned politician who became a rallying point for disgruntled Sri Lankans.
  • He was a target for the Tamil Tiger rebels (LTTE) who tried to assassinate him at least five times.
  • He was acting defence minister when the war against the LTTE was reaching its end in 2009.
  • He is popular among Sri Lanka’s Sinhalese Buddhist majority, who account for 70 percent of the island’s 21-million population.
  • He deserted Mahinda Rajapaksa and changed sides to become the Opposition candidate in November.
  • He has promised to end the executive presidency, which has unlimited powers.
  • He wants to restore the Parliamentary form of government where the Prime Minister is the head of government and the President is head of state.
  • He maintains that he will not remove the army from the Tamil dominated north as national security is most important for him.
  • He has vowed to root out corruption and bring constitutional reforms to weaken the power of the presidency.