Rajapaksa or Rajapakse, Mahinda(mähĭn`dä räjäpäk`sə), 1945–, Sri Lankan political leader. A lawyer from a political family, he was first elected to parliament in 1970 as member of the Sri Lanka Freedom party (SLFP). From 1994 to 2001 he served as minister of labor and of fisheries. Rajapaksa became opposition leader in 2002 and prime minister in 2004. In 2005 he was elected president of Sri Lanka, having formed an alliance with Marxist and Buddhist nationalists and advocating a harder line with rebel Tamils. In 2010, after the defeat (2009) of the Tamil rebels, he called an early presidential election and was reelected; he subsequently secured the abolition of presidential term limits. His family dominated the government, heading the defense and economic development ministries as well as parliamentary speakership. His party's impeachment and removal of the chief justice in 2013 was seen as a further consolidation of power and a sign of increasing authoritarianism. In 2015 he lost an early presidential contest to Maithripala SirisenaSirisena, Maithripala
(Pallewatte Gamaralalage Maithripala Gapa Sirisena), 1951–, Sri Lankan political leader. After an early interest in the Communist party, he joined the Sri Lankan Freedom party (SLFP) in 1968, becoming head of its youth organization in 1983.
..... Click the link for more information. , a former member of his government, who attacked the concentration of power in the presidency and the influence of Rajapaksa's family. His subsequent attempt in Aug., 2015, to return to power as prime minister failed when the SLFP placed second in parliamentary elections. His appointment as prime minister in Oct., 2018, by Sirisena after the president had dismissed Ranil WickremesingheWickremesinghe, Ranil Shriyan
, 1949–, Sri Lankan political leader. A member of the United National party and party leader (1994–), he was first elected to the Sri Lankan parliament in 1977.
..... Click the link for more information. provoked a political and constitutional crisis, and he failed to win the support of parliament. In Nov., 2019, after his brother Gotabaya was elected president, he was appointed prime minister.
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