When Mahinda Rajapaksa was defeated in Sri Lanka’s 2015 presidential election, many thought the shrewd leader, known for his brutal military campaign against the Tamil Tigers, was a spent force. Yet five years later, the 74-year-old king, along with his three brothers, is back at the top of Sri Lankan politics, winning the general election on Wednesday.
Rajapaksa served as Labor Minister (1994-2001) and Minister of Fisheries and Water Resources (1997-2001) under President Chandrika Kumaratunga, who appointed him as Prime Minister after the April 2004 general election, when the United People’s Freedom Alliance secured a majority.
Rajapaksa visited New Delhi in February on his first official visit to the country since being appointed to the office. Throughout his visit, Rajapaksa met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and discussed a host of important bilateral issues. Modi was among the first world leaders to congratulate Rajapaksa on Thursday’s victory and said that the two countries will work together to further advance all areas of bilateral cooperation and to bring their special ties to ever-newer heights.