A closer look at the life of Sri Lanka’s new President (Watch Report)

A closer look at the life of Sri Lanka’s new President (Watch Report)

Written by Staff Writer

09 Jan, 2015 | 10:52 pm

President Maithripala Sirisena, who having come from among the people, following long years of public service, took up the mantle of President today, marked a significant juncture in his political journey.

Born on September  2, 1951, Maithripala Sirisena, showed great enthusiasm for social service and politics, even when a student at the Thopawewa Maha Vidyalaya and at Royal College, Polonnaruwa.

He was only 17 years old when he was appointed to the position of Secretary of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party Youth Organisation. Maithripala Sirisena was even imprisoned during the 1971 insurrection and his political career has been nourished by such experiences.

He became a full time member of the SLFP in 1978 and since then worked his way up through the ranks holding various positions in the SLFP Youth Federation.

He entered parliament with the blessings of the people of the Polonnaruwa District in 1982 and went on to hold the portfolios of Deputy Minister of Irrigation in the 1994 PA government and Minister of Mahaweli Development in 1997.

The same year, Sirisena was recognised for his service as the SLFP Assistant Secretary and in 2001, he was elevated to the position of General Secretary of the Party. Since then he has held several cabinet ministerial portfolios where he showed his courage and hard-work and went onto be held in high esteem as a leader who had identified the pulse of the agrarian community.

His work as a public representative who worked in line with his conscience with dedication, earned him the love and respect, not only of his constituents but also of government and opposition politicians.

From 2010, until the ambitious decision that he took late last year, Maithripala Sirisena rendered a yeoman service as the Minister of Health. As a result of this commitment, he received awards from the World Health Organisation and Harvard University in 2013.

It is no secret that as he once said, Maithripala Sirisena was able to carry out his duty to the people of this country, amid many obstacles.

Terrorists made several attempts to assassinate him, but these attempts were unsuccessful.

Maithripala Sirisena, who has held the position of Acting Defence Minister on five occasions, including during the last days of the war in May 2009, was known for fearlessly carrying out his responsibilities.

Those in government and opposition accept that over the past ten years Maithripala Sirisena’s support has been instrumental in the victories earned by the SLFP.

Maithripala Sirisena who faced the challenge of uniting all parties and being elected president, is now faced with the challenge of moving forward from here, by implementing the system of governance that the people have elected him to do.

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