South Asia

All you need to know about Maithripala Sirisena

Sirisena had pledged to abolish the executive presidency within 100 days

Sirisena had pledged to abolish the executive presidency within 100 days   | Photo Credit: DINUKA LIYANAWATTE

---> Pallewatte Gamaralalage Maithripala Yapa Sirisena (63) was Health Minister in the Rajapaksa government and senior member of the ruling Sri Lanka Freedom Party until he broke ranks on November 21 to become the presidential candidate for a common opposition.

---> He has pledged to abolish the executive presidency within 100 days and return the country to a Westminster-style parliamentary democracy where the police, the judiciary, and the civil service will be independent institutions. >Read



---> Rajapaksa had removed the two-term limit on the presidency and given himself more powers soon after winning a second term in 2010 in what critics say were signs of growing authoritarianism. >Read



---> Sirisena has vowed to abolish the controversial 18th Amendment to Sri Lanka’s Constitution — which gives sweeping powers to the President in addition to removing the two-term limit on presidency. >Read



---> He had said before the polls that he would not withdraw troops from the island’s Tamil-majority north, as national security would be of top priority to him “as President”. >Read

---> His principal supporters include former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga and former Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe. UNP leader Ranil Wickramasinghe will be appointed Prime Minister if he is elected, Sirisena had said. >Read

---> Senior Buddhist monks and political parties representing the Tamils and Muslims, including allies of Rajapaksa, shifted support to Sirisena ahead of the election. >Read

---> He was first elected to Parliament in 1989. He has held several ministries under Ms. Kumaratunga. He was Minister of Agriculture in the first Rajapakas government elected in 2005. He was reelected in 2010 and appointed Minister of Health.



---> He escaped an assassination attempt on October 9 2008 when a convoy he was part of was attacked by a LTTE suicide bomber in Colombo.

Pre-election analysis: Rajapaksa's waning influence

Sirisena: Views & Pledges

  • Colombo opposition takes anti-China stand >Read more
  • Sirisena for equal ties with India, says his policy will take into consideration the diversity of India >Read more
  • Sirisena pledges war crime inquiry, said Sri Lanka has not ratified the statute that established the international court, and that he would institute an investigation by a local independent court >Read more
  • Sirisena opposes proposal from Tamil leaders for a federal model granting greater autonomy to Provinces to solve the country’s decades-long ethnic conflict >Read more
  • Sirisena said he would not withdraw troops from the island’s Tamil-majority north, as national security would be of top priority to him “as President”. >Read more
>Read more » >Read more » >Read more »

>Rajapaksa can no longer count on rural Sinhala vote bank

Rajapaksa’s appeal among the rural Sinhalese population cannot be underestimated. However, with Maithripala Sirisena crossing over, there is a likely split in the rural vote base

>In Sri Lanka’s Northern Province, an anti-Rajapaksa wave

Rajapaksa has failed in post-war reconciliation, Tamils feel

>Disillusioned kingmakers: Sri Lankan Muslims may choose opposition

Speculation began when all Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) leader and Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen made an unexpected exit from the government.



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Printable version | Feb 29, 2020 10:45:47 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/south-asia/all-you-need-to-know-about-maithripala-sirisena/article10618368.ece

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