Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa resigns; Here’s a look back into the stepping down PM

Following anti-government protests across the island nation, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa reportedly resigned on May 9. The decision comes after President Gotbaya Rajapaksa requested the PM to step down as a solution to the ongoing political crisis in the country. On May 6, a state of emergency has been declared by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in the country as the protest against the government rages over the streets due to the worsening economic crisis, The Times of India reported.

Before the official announcement of the PM’s resignation, a nationwide curfew was declared by Sri Lankan authorities across the country on May 9. During the anti-governmnet protest outside the office of PM, many people were injured and these all happend due to the high economic issues and rising money prices in the country.

What we know about the Mahinda Rajapaksa so far

Although Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned from the post on May 9, he has a very strong political career in Srilanka. had been serving as the country’s PM since 2019, and previously served as its president from 2005 to 2015. He was the Leader of the opposition from 2002 to 2004 and 2018 to 2019, and as Minister of Finance from 2005 to 2015 and from 2019 to 2021. He has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Kurunegala since 2015.

By profession, Rajapaksa is a lawyer and he was first elected to the parliament of Sri Lanka in 1970. Rajapaksa was sworn in for his first six-year term as president on 19 November 2005. He was subsequently re-elected in 2010 for a second term. In his mid-sixties, he started work as a library assistant at the Vidodaya Pirivena and soon became active in leftwing politics. He became a member of the Ceylon Mercantile Union and was elected its branch secretary in 1967. 

Rajapaksa contested the 1970 general elections as the SLFP candidate for the Beliatta constituency and was elected to the House of Representatives having gained 23,103 votes against his rival Dr Ranjit Atapattu from the United National Party (UNP) who gained 16,477. At the time he was the youngest member of parliament at the age of twenty-four years and served as a backbencher in the governing party.

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Following changes to the admission process to the Sri Lanka Law College, which allowed young MPs to gain admission, he entered Sri Lanka Law College and studied law while serving as an MP. In July 1977, Rajapaksa lost his parliamentary seat in SLFP’s landslide defeat in the 1977 general elections, to Dr Ranjit Atapattu who had gained 24,289 votes to Rajapaksa’s 17,896.

Although many thought that Mahinda would rule the country for at least a few years, the public outcry over the worsening economic crisis in the country prompted the leader to sign his resignation.