Mahinda Rajapaksa is the President of Sri Lanka. A lawyer by profession, Rajapaksa previously served as the country's Prime Minister from 2004 until he was sworn in as President for a six-year term in November 2005.
He is the current Chairman of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).
Rajapaksa’s father, D A Rajapaksa, was a prominent politician and a cabinet minister in Wijeyananda Dahanayake's government. D M Rajapaksa, his uncle, was a State Counselor 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.
After becoming President of Sri Lanka, Rajapaksa reshuffled the cabinet and took the portfolios of Defence and Finance in the new cabinet.
He re-opened talks with the LTTE, which it had unilaterally walked away from in April 2003, but the LTTE did not reciprocate his moves for peace.
Subsequently, he led the security forces to clear the LTTE from areas of the East, and went on for liberation of other areas.