President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
Pallewatte Gamaralalage Maithripala Yapa Sirisena, known as Maithripala Sirisena, is the 6th Executive President of Sri Lanka. He was born on 3rd September 1951 to a middle-class farming family. He joined mainstream politics in 1989 and has held several ministerial portfolios since 1994. He is the President of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) (ශ්රී ලංකා නිදහස් පක්ෂය – இலங்கை சுதந்திரக் கட்சி) and he was the longest serving General Secretary. He was selected as the Common Candidate of the for the Presidential Election to be held on 8th January 2015, where he won the support of the people of Sri Lanka to change the regime to build a better governance and an economically prosperous Sri Lanka for everyone.
Maithripala Sirisena is a rare breed of a gentleman politician in today’s political landscape, a politician with an impeccable track record, untainted by either violence or corruption. Maithripala is a political leader with a genuine national appeal. The son of a farmer, he had practiced a brand of centrist, moderate and clean politics, which characterizes the best in Sri Lanka’s political culture.
In 1967 Maithripala became a member of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party’s Youth Organization and became its secretary of the Polonnaruwa electorate at the time he was completing his ordinary level (O/L) examinations at Royal Central College, Polonnaruwa. In 1970 he actively participated in the SLFP election campaign as a student.
He obtained the “Diploma in Agriculture” from School of Agriculture in Kundasale in 1973.
Maithri was jailed after the 1971 JVP Insurrection, although he was not involved in it.
He became a Co-orporative Purchasing Officer in Polonnaruwa as his first employment.
He became “Grama Niladhari” – The “Chief Government Officer” and served his fellow villages in day today administrative matters.
Appointed as the Secretary to Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) Central Committee’s Polonnaruwa electorate and he played a leading role in 1977 election, and had to undergo hardships due to prevailing post election violence.
He resigned from his job to engage in full time politics.
He attended an International Youth Congress held in Cuba in the same year.
He became the Secretary of Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), Polonnaruwa District.
He was once again jailed for taking part in protest campaigns against stripping Mrs Sirimavo Bandaranayake’s civic rights.
He was appointed as the SLFP – Polonnaruwa District Organizer to lead the SLFP in district level.
He received a Diploma in Political Science, from the Maxim Gorky Academy in Russia.
Maithri became the Treasurer of “All Island SLFP Youth Organization” which made him elegible to become a Central Committee Member of SLFP (SLFP Politburo), which is the highest level decision making body of the party.
In 1989, Maithri for the first time contested for the general elections from the Polonnaruwa District and became a member of the parliament (MP) on 15th February 1989. He contested under the well-known SLFP symbol “HAND” and this was the last time this symbol was used in an election in Sri Lanka.
In the general elections of 1994, he obtained the highest number of preferential votes from Polonnaruwa District. After this, he was made the Deputy Minister for Irrigation.
He was offered the Cabinet Ministerial portfolio of Mahaweli Development and Parliamentary Affairsand was elected as the Assistant Secretary of the SLFP.
Maithri was elected as the Vice Chairman of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party. (SLFP)
He was elected to the 12th Parliament and in July 2001 Minister Maithripala Sirisena was appointed to theGeneral Secretary of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party and he is still serving in this position to date as the longest serving secretary of the history of Sri Lanka Freedom Party.
In February 2004 Maithripala Sirisena signed the historic memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) with Mr. Tilvin Silva, the secretary of JVP, which lead to the birth of United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) (එක්සත් ජනතා නිදහස් සන්ධානය), the current coalition government.
He was elected to the 13th Parliament of Sri Lanka and was appointed as the Cabinet Minister of Mahaweli, River Basin & Rajarata Development.
He was also appointed as the Leader of the House of Parliament.
In November 2005, Maithripala Sirisena was given two portfolios in the government of Sri Lanka:
- The Cabinet Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Mahaweli Development.
- The Minister of Environment & Natural Resources
Mr Maithripala Sirisena once again signed the memorundum of understanding (MOU) between Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and United National Party (UNP) with then chairman of UNP Mr. Malik Samarawickrama. This was an agreement to coorporate with the government to end the civil war.
He then served as the Cabinet Minister for Agricultural Development and Agrarian Services Development.
During this period he was able to introduced the agricultural cultivation drive of the ministry “API WAWAMU – RATA NAGAMU” program which lead to agricultural boom throughout Sri Lanka including accelerated field crop production to sustain the agricultural sector in Sri Lanka.
On 25th January 2007, The Minister initiated and started the Moragahakanda – Kalu Ganga project under the Mahaveli Master Plan, which was a 90 billion Sri Lankan Rupee project. In addition to providing water for irrigation and drinking purposes in North-Central, Northern and Eastern Provinces. Moragahakanda project was also generate 25 MW of power, fulfilling a long-term need for domestic and industrial electricity demand.
In March 2007 the Minister escaped from the terrorist suicide-bombing attempt by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in Welikanda. With the information provided by the security information divisions, 3 LTTE carders were on hunt, but they had swallowed cyanide capsules hanged on their neck and killed themselves at the time of capture.
Once again in 09th October 2008 the Minister was targeted by the world’s most ruthless LTTE terrorist group. The attack was carried out when he was returning from the “Wap Magul Ceremony” held in Bandaragama. This time the Minister was miraculously escaped and saved his life to serve the country. Unfortunately 4 people died 15 were injured in this incident.
Since 2005 at the height of the war in Sri Lanka, Mr Maithripala performed as the Acting Defence Minister of Sri Lanka for five times. He was the acting Defence Minister at the final days of the war in Sri Lanka in the absence of the Defence Minister (The President).
Minister Maithripala was elected back in to the parliament in 2010 and was appointed as the Cabinet Minister of Health of the UPFA government.
“Sri Lanka – National Drug Policy Act”
During the period 2010-2014 the minister have taken initiative to introduce back the well-known Bibile “Drug Policy Act” and presented it to the cabinet, fulfilling the need of a National Drug Policy Framework for Sri Lanka. The act is now before the cabinet for approval.
“Pictorial Warnings on Tobacco Packaging”
He fought with the multinational tobacco companies, both in and out of the courts with threats to introduce the “Pictorial Warnings” on the tobacco / cigarette packings to educate the general public to adverse effects of the smoking. During this two and half year of legal battle, he had to sit and wait hours on watching the court proceedings and finally won the case. By January 2015 each and every cigarette pack will carry pictorial warnings on 60% of its serface.
Received World Health Organization ‘World No Tobacco Day Award 2013’ for his determine action taken to stop tobacco smoking in the country. This is the first time a Sri Lankan was awarded with this honour.
“Harvard Ministerial Leadership in Health Award” 2013
Received ‘2013 Harvard Ministerial Leadership in Health Award’ from Harvard School of Public Health & Kennedy School of Government, United States of America in recognition of his commitment to innovative leadership in his tenure as Minister of Health, Sri Lanka. This is also the first time a Sri Lankan was awarded with this honour.
“World Health Assembly in Geneva”
Rendered leadership to G15 Group of Countries at 2013 World Health Assembly in Geneva and presented the G15 Statement on health related issues to the Assembly.
Was selected as the one of the four Vice-Presidents WHO World Health Assembly 2014.
Empowering Local Medicine Manufactures
A historical decision was taken by the initiative as the Health Minister Mr. Mathripala, obtained the approvals to purchase locally manufactured medicines directly to the ministry of health empowering the local medicine manufactures.
Sri Lanka’s first Government to Government Medicine Procurement Mechanism
Mr Maithripala, as the health minister initiated and commenced Sri Lanka’s first government to government medicine procurement mechanism by singing an agreement with the government of Bangaladesh and Sri Lanka to create an atmosphere to get quality medicine at a better rate to help the people in Sri Lanka who could not afford.
2015 Presidential Election – Common Candidate
Minister Maithripala Sirisena was selected and named as the Common Candidate for the upcoming Sri Lankan Presidential Election to be held on 8th January 2015.
Summary of Biography
- Constituency: Polonnaruwa District
- Political Party Name: Sri Lanka Freedom Party(SLFP)
- Date of Birth: 03.09.1951
- Marital Status: Married
- Spouse’s name: Mrs.Jayanthi Pushpa Kumari
- Children: 2 Daughters, and one son
- Religion: Buddhist
1955 Primary education at Lakshauyana School (BOP-292) Polonnaruwa
Topawawa Maha Vidyalaya – Polonnaruwa
Royal Central College – Polonnaruwa
Excelled in aesthetic studies (singing, dancing, art & cultural activities)
1973 Diploma in Agriculture ( Sri Lanka School of Agriculture, Kundasale )
1980 Diploma in Political Science, Maxim Gorky Academy Russia
- Profession: Agriculturist