10 January 2015

Biographical information on Sri Lanka's Sirisena

Sri Lanka's main opposition presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena gets his finger marked with indelible ink after casting his vote at a polling station in Polonnaruwa, about 200 kilometers (124 miles) northeast of Colombo, Sri Lanka, Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015. Monitors on Thursday expressed concerns that voters are being prevented from casting their ballots in some parts of Sri Lanka in an election where President Mahinda Rajapaksa faces a fierce political battle after Sirisena, his onetime ally, suddenly defected from the ruling party to run against him.
NAME: Maithripala Sirisena (pronounced my-three-PA'-la si-ri-SAY'-na)
AGE-BIRTHPLACE: 63. Born in the village of Yagoda, north of Colombo, but moved in the 1950s with his family to the farming district of Polonnaruwa under a government agriculture development project.
ETHNICITY: From the country's majority Buddhist Sinhala group.
FAMILY: Married, 2 grown daughters and 1 son.
Sri Lanka's main opposition presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena gestures as he leaves after casting his vote during the presidential elections at a polling station in Polonnaruwa, about 200 kilometers (124 miles) northeast of Colombo, Sri Lanka, Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015. Monitors on Thursday expressed concerns that voters are being prevented from casting their ballots in some parts of Sri Lanka in an election where President Mahinda Rajapaksa faces a fierce political battle after Sirisena, his onetime ally, suddenly defected from the ruling party to run against him.
EDUCATION: Diploma in Agriculture, School of Agriculture, Kandy, Sri Lanka, 1973. Diploma in Political Science, Maxim Gorky Academy, Moscow, Russia, 1980.
EXPERIENCE: An agriculturalist by training, Sirisena's first job was as the purchasing officer for Polonnaruwa District's cooperative business society in 1974. He became a village official in 1976, and joined politics full time in 1978. He was first elected to parliament in 1989, and has served as a senior Cabinet minister in the outgoing President Mahinda Rajapaksa's government. Most recently, he was health minister and was second-in-command in Rajapaksa's Freedom Party until he resigned in late November to run for the presidency.
Sri Lanka's main opposition presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena gestures to photographers as he arrives to cast his vote during the presidential elections at a polling station in Polonnaruwa, about 200 kilometers (124 miles) northeast of Colombo, Sri Lanka, Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015. Monitors on Thursday expressed concerns that voters are being prevented from casting their ballots in some parts of Sri Lanka in an election where President Mahinda Rajapaksa faces a fierce political battle after Sirisena, his onetime ally, suddenly defected from the ruling party to run against him.
POLITICS: A self-described socialist, Sirisena has railed against corruption, abuse of power and nepotism in the Rajapaksa government. He has also vowed to hold an independent, domestic investigation into Sri Lanka's 25-year civil war against ethnic Tamil rebels - a demand by the international community that Rajapaksa refused.

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