By Nuwan Senarathna
Colombo, August 9 (DailyFT): Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa was sworn in as the 13th Prime Minister of Sri Lanka before President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at a dignified ceremony held at Kelaniya Raja Maha Viharaya yesterday.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa hug each other after the swearing-in ceremony of the latter yesterday whilst in the other picture Gotabaya worships his elder brother Mahinda
Prime Minister Rajapaksa was sworn in at the auspicious time as Sri Lanka’s ninth Parliament Prime Minister before the President and President’s Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundera amidst chanting of seth pirith by Maha Sangha, invoking blessings on the new Premier.
Following the swear-in, President Rajapaksa paid his respect to his elder brother, the newly appointed Prime Minister. Later, the President and Prime Minister engaged in religious observances at the Viharaya.
Elected to the post for the fourth time, Mahinda Rajapaksa served two terms as the Executive President of the country from 2005 to 2015.
During his 10-year tenure as the Executive President, Rajapaksa was able to eradicate the 30-decade old terrorism from the country and accelerate country’s economic development.
Completing five decades in active politics, Rajapaksa entered the Parliament in 1970 and he played a pivotal role as a Cabinet Minister during 1995-2004 period.
First elected as the Prime Minister in 2004, Mahinda Rajapaksa was sworn in as the Prime Minister for the second time on 26 October 2018. The third time he was sworn in as the Prime Minister was on 21 November 2019.
Rajapaksa will go down in history as the first-ever Sri Lankan to become Prime Minister for four times after serving two terms as the Executive President.
Contesting from Kurunegala district in the recently concluded Parliamentary Election Mahinda Rajapaksa received a record-breaking 527,364 preferential votes, the highest number of votes a candidate ever received.
The swearing-in ceremony was attended by the members of the clergy, former President and newly elected MP Maithripala Sirisena, Governors, foreign mission envoys, First Lady Ioma Rajapaksa, Shiranthi Rajapaksa, Prime Minister’s family members, newly elected Members to the Parliament from SLPP and other parliamentarians who extended their support to the new Government were also present on the occasion.
At the conclusion of the ceremony both President and Prime Minister greeted the public gathered at the venue.