A family affair: Sri Lanka’s Rajapaksa dynasty

Mahinda Rajapaksa, 74, is the patriarch of the family. First as prime minister in 2004 and then president from 2005 until January 2015. Known as a charismatic leader, he is adored by the Sinhala-Buddhist majority for crushing separatist Tamil rebels in May 2009 following a highly controversial military offensive.

During his rule Sri Lanka also moved closer to China, borrowing almost $7 billion for infrastructure projects — many of which turned into white elephants mired in corruption that sent Sri Lanka’s debts soaring.


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