Maithripala Sirisena is a Sri Lankan politician who took office as the country’s 7th President in January 2015. He held a number of positions in Sri Lankan politics before running for president, including that of Minister of Health. Many times, he also served as Acting Defense Minister. Sirisena is the son of a World War II veteran and comes from a farming family with no political ties. The humble man from a rural upbringing appeared to be an unexpected choice to terminate the popular Mahinda Rajapaksa’s 10-year rule, which he defeated in the presidential election. Many in Sri Lankan politics were surprised by Sirisena’s climb from a low-profile minister to the president. He is an inconspicuous man who does not speak English and wears national attire all the time, but he is unquestionably a man of high character and integrity. He has promised to abolish the executive president and return the country to a Westminster-style parliamentary democracy, with independent institutions for the police, judiciary, and civil service. He is also recognized for his bravery, having survived multiple assassination attempts. He has declared that national security will remain his top concern while leading the country on a path of economic growth and prosperity.
Childhood and Adolescence
He was born on September 3, 1951, into a middle-class farming family as the son of Albert Sirisena, a World War II veteran.
He attended the Lakshauyana School and then Topawawa Maha Vidyalaya, both in Polonnaruwa, for his basic schooling.
In 1967, he joined the Sri Lanka Freedom Party’s (SLFP) youth league, and during the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna Insurgency in 1971, he was imprisoned.
He attended Royal College in Polonnaruwa before transferring to the Sri Lanka School of Agriculture in Kundasale, where he earned his Diploma in Agriculture in 1973 after three years of study. He then moved to Russia, where he got a Diploma in Political Science from the Maxim Gorky Literature Institute in 1980.
He ascended through the ranks of the SLFP throughout the years, eventually becoming president of the All Island SLFP Youth Organization in 1983.
Career of Maithripala Sirisena
In 1989, he ran as an SLFP candidate in the Polonnaruwa District parliamentary election and was elected to the legislature. He was re-elected in the 1994 parliamentary election, this time as a People’s Alliance (PA) candidate, five years later.
In 1994, he was appointed Deputy Minister of Irrigation in President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s new PA cabinet. In 1997, the president appointed him to the Cabinet as the Minister of Mahaweli Development.
In 2000, he was elected Chairman of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), and the following year, he was chosen General Secretary of the party, a position he held until 2014, making him the longest-serving secretary in the party’s history.
Mr. Tilvin Silva, the secretary of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), signed the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), which led to the formation of the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) in 2004.
He was the Cabinet Minister for Agricultural Development and Agrarian Services Development from 2007 until 2009. He launched the ministry’s agricultural cultivation effort, the “API WAWAMU – RATA NAGAMU” initiative, and the Mahaweli Master Plan’s Moragahakanda – Kalu Ganga project during his tenure.
In April 2010, he was named Minister of Health. He provided the Cabinet with the “Sri Lanka – National Drug Policy Act,” which fulfilled the country’s demand for a national drug policy framework. He pushed tirelessly to have pictorial warnings placed on tobacco goods to educate the public about the dangers of smoking.
He was chosen as one of the four Vice-Presidents of the WHO World Health Assembly 2014 as the health minister.
He stated in November 2014 that he would run as the common opposition candidate against incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa in the 2015 presidential election.
He was elected and took office as Sri Lanka’s 7th President on January 9, 2015.
Achievements & Awards
He was the first Sri Lankan to receive the World Health Organization’s ‘World No Tobacco Day Award in 2013’ for his efforts to put an end to tobacco smoking in his country.
In 2013, the Harvard School of Public Health & Kennedy School of Government in the United States of America awarded him the Harvard Ministerial Leadership in Health Award for his innovative leadership position as Minister of Health in Sri Lanka. This was also the first time a Sri Lankan has received the accolade.
Personal History and Legacy
He is married to Jayanthi Pushpa Kumar, with whom he shares three children: two daughters and a son.
The LTTE attempted to assassinate him several times, including a suicide bombing in 2007 and a major assassination attempt in 2008, both of which he miraculously escaped. Nothing, however, could dampen his desire to serve his nation, and he continues to work tirelessly for the country’s advancement.
Maithripala Sirisena Net Worth
Maithripala Sirisena is one of the wealthiest and most popular politicians in Sri Lanka. Maithripala Sirisena’s net worth is estimated to be $1.5 million, according to Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider.