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PRESIDENTT RAJAPAKSA OF SRI LANKA ADDRESSES THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY AT THE UNITED NATIONS
Mahinda Rajapaksa, president of Sri Lanka, addresses the 61st session of the General Assembly at the United Nations on September 20,2006 in New York. (UPI Photo/Monika Graff)
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Percy Mahendra "Mahinda" Rajapaksa (Sinhala මහින්ද රාජපක්ෂ, pronounced ; Tamil மகிந்த ராசபக்ச; born November 18, 1945) is the 6th and current President of Sri Lanka and Commander in Chief of the Sri Lankan Armed Forces. A lawyer by profession, Rajapaksa was first elected to the Parliament of Sri Lanka in 1970, and served as prime minister from April 6, 2004 until his victory in the 2005 Presidential election. He was sworn in for a six-year term as president on November 19, 2005. He was re-elected for a second term in office on January 27, 2010.

Rajapaksa was born in Weerakatiya in the southern rural district of Hambantota. He hails from a well known political family in Sri Lanka. His father, D. A. Rajapaksa, was a prominent politician, independence agitator, Member of Parliament and Cabinet Minister of Agriculture and Land in Wijeyananda Dahanayake's government. D.M. Rajapaksa, his uncle, was a State Councillor for Hambantota in the 1930s who started wearing the earthy brown shawl to represent kurakkan (finger millet) cultivated by the people of his area, whose cause he championed throughout his life. It is from his example that Rajapaksa wears his characteristic shawl.

Rajapaksa was educated at Richmond College, Galle before moving to Nalanda College Colombo and later Thurstan College, Colombo. He also had a few cameo roles as a movie actor in Sinhalese movies and worked as a library assistant at Vidyodaya University.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Mahinda Rajapaksa."
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