Mangala Samaraweera

Mangala Pinsiri Samaraweera (Sinhala: මංගල පින්සිරි සමරවීර, Tamil: மங்கள சமரவீர; pronounced [mˈʌŋgɘlɘ pinsiri sˈʌmɘrɘviːrɘ]; born 21 April 1956), better known as Mangala Samaraweera, is a Sri Lankan politician. He is a former Minister of Finance from 2017 to 2019, Minister of Foreign Affairs, for two terms from 2005 to 2007 and 2015 to 2017. He created a stir in Sri Lankan politics when he was sacked as a minister by President Mahinda Rajapakse in 2007, after which he formed a new political party called the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (Mahajana) Wing, which later merged with the United National Party in 2010.[1]


Mangala Samaraweera
මංගල සමරවීර
Mangala Samaraweera.jpg
Minister of Finance
In office
22 May 2017 – 17 November 2019
PresidentMaithripala Sirisena
Prime MinisterRanil Wickremesinghe
Preceded byRavi Karunanayake
Succeeded byMahinda Rajapaksa
Minister of Media
In office
22 May 2017 – 17 November 2019
PresidentMaithripala Sirisena
Prime MinisterRanil Wickremesinghe
Preceded byGayantha Karunathilaka
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
12 January 2015 – 22 May 2017
PresidentMaithripala Sirisena
Prime MinisterRanil Wickremesinghe
Preceded byGamini L Peiris
Succeeded byRavi Karunanayake
In office
23 November 2005 – 28 January 2007
PresidentMahinda Rajapaksa
Prime MinisterRatnasiri Wickremanayake
Preceded byAnura Bandaranaike
Succeeded byRohitha Bogollagama
Member of the Sri Lanka Parliament
for Matara District
In office
1989–2020
Personal details
Born
Mangala Pinsiri Samaraweera

(1956-04-21) 21 April 1956 (age 64)
Matara, Sri Lanka
NationalitySri Lankan
Political partySri Lanka Freedom Party (1983-2007)
United National Party
(2010-present)
ParentsMahanama Samaraweera
(father)
Khema Padmawathi Samaraweera(mother)
OccupationPolitician

Early life and educationEdit

Born to Mahanama Samaraweera and Khema Padmawathi Samaraweera née Amaraweera, his father was a cabinet Minister of Local Government, Housing, Communications, Posts and Telecommunications in Sirimavo Bandaranaike's government and his mother served as a member of the Matara Urban Council. Educated at Royal College, Colombo and at Walthamforest College, London, he gained a BA in Clothing Design and Technology from St. Martin's School of Art in London, he served as a design consultant to the National Design Center of Sri Lanka and served as a visiting lecturer in the Institute of Aesthetic Studies, University of Kelaniya.[2]

Political careerEdit

Samaraweera entered politics from the Sri Lanka Freedom Party as its chief organiser in Matara in 1983, thereafter becoming the party's Assistant Secretary and Coordinating Secretary of the Mother’s Front.

He first entered the Parliament of Sri Lanka as a representative of the Matara District in 1989, and he was appointed as Minister of Post and Telecommunications in the cabinet of President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga in 1994. He also served as the Minister of Urban Development, Construction and Public Utilities in the same Cabinet after a reshuffle and was later given the Deputy Minister of Finance portfolio.

Following the election defeat of his party in 2001, he was made the Chief Opposition Whip and the Treasurer of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party. In 2004 he became the Minister of Ports, Aviation and Media in the new cabinet of President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga.

In June 2005, after conflicts with Kumaratunga, he dropped the Media Ministry, but remained Cabinet Minister of Ports and Aviation. He became the campaign manager for Presidential candidate and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse. When Rajapakse won and took office in November 2005, he surprised many by appointing Samaraweera to the additional post of Foreign Minister instead of Prime Minister; Samaraweera maintained his other posts.[3]

In late January 2007, Samaraweera was replaced as Foreign Minister, but remained as Minister of Ports and Aviation.[4] On 9 February 2007, he was sacked from the cabinet together with ministers Anura Bandaranaike and Sripathi Sooriyarachchi after falling out with the president. He then went on to create a new political party, the SLFP (Mahajana) wing.

In October 2013, the Matara Magistrate's Court issued a Court order to arrest him and 10 others for their alleged involvement in obstructing a peaceful protest march in Matara by UNP activists, to oust its leader Ranil Wickramasinghe.[5]

On 12 January 2015 Samaraweera was again appointed as Minister of Foreign Affairs under newly elected President Maithripala Sirisena.[6]

After the 2019 Presidential election, Samaraweera joined the newly form Samagi Jana Balawegaya which was launched in 2020 and led by opposition leader Sajith Premadasa.[7] He resigned from the position of Finance minister as of 17 November 2019 even hours prior to release of the general election results.[8]

In June 2020, he announced that he would not contest at the upcoming 2020 parliamentary election which is scheduled to be held on 5 August 2020 and urged the public to not vote for his preferential number and revealed that it will be impossible to remove his name from nomination list.[9][10] On 9 June 2020, he also announced that he will step back and quit parliamentary politics.[11][12]

ControversiesEdit

In 2019, while being the finance minister he was accused of spreading hate speech and racist comments about Buddhism and monks urged immediate action against him for his comments about Buddhism.[13][14]

He also criticised honorable Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith in 2018 for Cardinal's comments on human rights and in 2019 Mangala blamed Cardinal for visiting a Buddhist monk who was fasting.[15][16][17]

He was accused of using Sri Lanka Transport Board buses to transport and locate voters for the 2019 Presidential election during his tenure as finance minister.[18]

Personal lifeEdit

He is openly homosexual.[19][20] In November 2018, after homophobic comments made by President Maithripala Sirisena, he wrote on Twitter that “I would rather be a butterfly than a leech Mr. President!!!”[21]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Daily Mirror, SLFP (M) unveils ‘policy’
  2. ^ "MR. MANGALA SAMARAWEERA, 2005 – 2007 JANUARY". mfa.gov.lk. Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Retrieved 26 June 2020.
  3. ^ "BBCSinhala.com". www.bbc.com. Retrieved 2020-06-13.
  4. ^ "Sri Lankan president reshuffles cabinet", Xinhua, January 29, 2007.
  5. ^ "ARREST MANGALA ORDERS COURT". Dailymirror.lk. 15 Oct 2013. Archived from the original on 16 October 2013. Retrieved 16 October 2013.
  6. ^ "Sri Lankan foreign minister Mangala Samaraweera to visit India". The Times of India. 13 January 2015. Retrieved 3 February 2015.
  7. ^ ""We will not take a step back" ; Sajith Premadasa launches Samagi Jana Balavegaya". Sri Lanka News - Newsfirst. 2020-03-02. Retrieved 2020-06-13.
  8. ^ "Sri Lanka finance minister Mangala Samaraweera resigns". EconomyNext. 2019-11-17. Retrieved 2020-06-13.
  9. ^ "Mangala Samaraweera decides not to contest the General Election from the Matara District". Sri Lanka News - Newsfirst. 2020-06-09. Retrieved 2020-06-13.
  10. ^ "Mangala steps down from Parliamentary politics: "Gotabaya is inefficient and shortsighted"". EconomyNext. 2020-06-09. Retrieved 2020-06-13.
  11. ^ "Sri Lanka : Mangala Samaraweera quits parliamentary politics, not to run for election 2020". www.colombopage.com. Retrieved 2020-06-13.
  12. ^ LBO (2020-06-09). "I step down from Parliamentary Election: Mangala Samaraweera". Lanka Business Online. Retrieved 2020-06-13.
  13. ^ Srinivasan, Meera (2019-06-19). "Sri Lankan Finance Minister takes on Buddhist monk's racially charged comments". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 2020-06-13.
  14. ^ "Racism has become a commodity today - Dambara Amila Thero". www.adaderana.lk. Retrieved 2020-06-13.
  15. ^ admin (2019-06-04). "Catholic Church condemns twitter message by Mangala | Colombo Gazette". Retrieved 2020-06-13.
  16. ^ "Mangala hits out at Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith's comments on human rights". www.adaderana.lk. Retrieved 2020-06-13.
  17. ^ "Cardinal seems to get it wrong: Mangala". www.dailymirror.lk. Retrieved 2020-06-13.
  18. ^ admin (2020-05-14). "Mangala questioned by CID for over five hours | Colombo Gazette". Retrieved 2020-06-13.
  19. ^ "Standing Up For The Gay Politician: Mangala Samaraweera On Right Track?". Colombo Telegraph. 2017-05-08. Retrieved 2018-09-07.
  20. ^ "WikiLeaks: Mangala Samaraweera Is Openly Homosexual - US Embassy Colombo Informed State Department". Colombo Telegraph. 2014-01-22. Retrieved 2020-06-13.
  21. ^ "Better butterfly than a leech: Mangala to Sirisena | FT Online". www.ft.lk. Retrieved 2018-11-07.

External linksEdit

Government offices
Preceded by
Gamini L Peiris
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka
2015–2017
Succeeded by
Ravi Karunanayake
Preceded by
Anura Bandaranaike
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka
2005-2007
Succeeded by
Rohitha Bogollagama