(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) – Mahinda Rajapaksa took oaths as the first leader to become Prime Minister for a fourth time in the history of Sri Lankan politics before President Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday.
PM Rajapaksa secured 527,364 Preferential Votes at the General Election 2020, the highest number of votes a candidate had ever received so far, at the recent August 5 General Election.
Prime Minister Rajapaksa was sworn in as the 13th Prime Minister of Sri Lanka before the seventh Executive President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at a solemn ceremony held at the historic Kelaniya Rajamaha Viharaya temple premises which the Buddha himself graced on the eighth year after his Enlightenment on a Vesak Full Moon Poya day together with 500 Arahants on the invitation of the then king Maniakkitha.
Rajapaksa arrived at the ceremony site with wife Shiranthi Rajapaksa, their children and the newly elected Parliamentarians around 9.08 am.
Thereafter President Gotabaya Rajapaksa arrived at 9.12 am.
With the singing of the national anthem, the ceremony commenced. The Maha Sangha who attended the ceremony chanted Seth Pirith and invoked blessings on the new Premier. Then the President and the the Prime Minister engaged in religious observances at the Viharaya on the invitation of the Kelaniya Raja Maha Viharaya Chief Incumbent Ven. Prof.Kollupitiye Mahinda Sangarakkitha Thera. At the conclusion of the ceremony both President and Prime Minister greeted the public gathered at the venue.
Mahinda Rajapaksa served two terms in the office of Executive President from 2005 to 2015 during which he eradicated 30 years of terrorism from the country and worked to accelerate the country’s economic development.
Rajapaksa entered Parliament in 1970 and he played a pivotal role as a Cabinet Minister during 1995-2004 period and has completed five decades in active politics. He swore in as the Prime Minister in 2004 for the first time and for the second time in October 2018. For the third time, he was sworn in as the Prime Minister on November 21, 2019.
Contesting from Kurunegala district at the recently concluded General election, Mahinda Rajapaksa received a record-breaking 527,364 Preferential Votes, the highest number of votes a candidate ever received. His victory ensures a two thirds majority in Parliament now. Mahinda Rajapaksa who was a revolutionary politician who made history in politics by organizing Pada Yatra, Jana Gosha and Human Chain while being the Opposition Leader and made history again following his defeat at the Presidential Election in 2015 by returning back to politics as an Opposition MP. Since then he made history by establishing a new party, the SLPP that swept aside the two main political parties in the country and electing his own brother Gotabaya Rajapaksa as the seventh Executive President within a short period of time. He then led the party to build one of the strongest governments in the history.
The Maha Sangha and other religious leaders, Governors, Secretary to the President, members of the diplomatic corps, newly elected SLPP Members of Parliament and supporters of the new government were present at the swearing-in ceremony.