|The Heads of Government and their representatives posing for the Official Photograph at The Opening Ceremony of The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), in Nelum Pokuna, Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre, Colombo, on Friday, Nov. 15, 2013.|
( November 15, 2013, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) President Mahinda Rajapaksa assumed the position of the Commonwealth Chairman-in-Office succeeding the Australian Prime Minister for the next two years, at the 22nd Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) held in Colombo today (15).
All the 53 member-countries were represented at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.
His Royal Highness Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, officially opened CHOGM today.
The CHOGM is the Commonwealth’s ultimate policy and decision-making forum. Commonwealth leaders meet to discuss global and Commonwealth issues such as international peace and security, democracy, human rights, health and the environment, and to agree on collective policies and initiatives.
Sri Lanka is among the oldest members of the 54 member Commonwealth of Nations, being one of its founders since it gained independence in 1948.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa is the 5th President of Sri Lanka. He established a record in Sri Lankan political history with being the first Executive President to lead his party to a landslide victory in Parliamentary Elections held just over two months after being elected for a second term of office as Executive President with an overwhelming majority of 1,842,749, polling 6,015,934 votes in January, 2010.
This saw the Sri Lankan electorate recognizing him as the national leader who liberated the country from the terrorism of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), and set the country on the path to peace, stronger democracy and rapid economic development.
He was elected as the Chairman of the eight-member South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) at the 15th SAARC Summit held in Colombo in August 2008, taking over the Chair of SAARC from India. He relinquished his position at the 16th Summit to Prime Minister of Bhutan, Jigmi Thinley.
He was also Chairman of G15 from 2010-2012.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa pursues a pragmatic foreign policy, committed to the principles of Non-Alignment and maintaining friendly relations with all nations.