List of prime ministers of Sri Lanka

Last updated

There have been fourteen prime ministers of Sri Lanka since the creation of the position in 1947, prior to the formation of Ceylon. The Prime Minister of Ceylon was the head of the government until 1972. In 1972, the country was named as the Free, Sovereign and Independent Republic of Sri Lanka and the position was known as the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka from then onwards. The Prime Minister also held the unified Ministry of External Affairs and Defence until 1977, when J.R. Jayewardene's government adapted two ministries, forming the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Contents

In 1978, after Jayewardene became the President, new constitutional changes were introduced. The position of the Executive President was introduced, resulting in the powers of the Prime Minister being reduced. The President became the head of state and chief executive, [1] and the Prime Minister became a weak head of government. [2]

Under the current constitution of Sri Lanka, the Prime Minister is the leader of the Cabinet business and also functions as a deputy to the President. In the event a president dies in office, the Prime Minister becomes the acting president until the Parliament convenes to elect a successor or new elections can be held to elect a new president. This was the case in 1993, when President Ranasinghe Premadasa was assassinated and Prime Minister Dingiri Banda Wijetunge took office as president. [3]

On 28 April 2015, the Parliament approved the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka which gives the power of the Government to the Prime Minister, while the President remains the head of state, head of the cabinet, and Commander-in-chief. [4]

Of the fourteen prime ministers who have held the office since the introduction of the position in 1947, one has held the office four times, two have held office thrice, and two have held office twice. Five prime ministers have gone on to become president of the country. [5]

Ranil Wickramasinghe has been sworn in as prime minister the most times in the country's history, on six occasions (May 1993, December 2001, January 2015, August 2015, December 2018, and May 2022), [6] [7] whilst Dudley Shelton Senanayaka and Sirimavo Bandaranayake were appointed three times. Mahinda Rajapakse is the only Prime Minister who was suspended from his duties by the Supreme Court. [8] [9] [10] becoming Sri Lanka's 1st de facto Prime Minister in 2018.

List of prime ministers

Parties

   United National Party (7)    Sri Lanka Freedom Party (7)    Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (1)


No.PortraitName
(Birth–Death)
Constituency/Title
Term of office

Electoral mandates
Other ministerial offices
held while Prime Minister
Political party
of PM
(Alliance)
Government
(Parliament)
Refs
1 Official Photographic Portrait of Don Stephen Senanayaka (1884-1952).jpg D. S. Senanayake
දොන් ස්ටීවන් සේනානායක
டான் ஸ்டீபன் சேனாநாயக்க
(1883–1952)
Mirigama
24 September
1947
22 March
1952
Minister of External Affairs and Defence United National Party D. S. Senanayake 1st [11]
1947
The first Prime Minister of Ceylon. The country gained independence from United Kingdom during his term of office. [12]
2 Dudley Shelton Senanayaka (1911-1973).jpg Dudley Senanayake
ඩඩ්ලි සේනානායක
டட்லி சேனநாயக்கா
(1911–1973)
Dedigama
26 March
1952
12 October
1953
Minister of External Affairs and Defence
Minister of Agriculture & Lands
& Minister of Health & Local Government
United National Party Dudley Senanayake I 1st
2nd
[11]
1952
Appointed as Prime Minister following the death of his father, D. S. Senanayake. His party won at the general elections held in June 1952, and he continued in the office without a re-appointment. Dudley Senanayake resigned in 1953. [13]
3 John Kotelawala (1951).jpg Sir John Kotelawala
ශ්‍රිමත් ජෝන් කොතලාවල
சேர் ஜோன் கொத்தலாவலை
CH, KBE, KStJ, CLI
(1897–1980)
Dodangaslanda
12 October
1953
12 April
1956
Minister of External Affairs and Defence
& Minister of Transport & Works
United National Party Kotelawala 2nd [11]
 
Sri Lanka joined the United Nations under the leadership of Kotelawala. [14]
4 Official Photographic Portrait of S.W.R.D.Bandaranayaka (1899-1959).jpg S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike
සොලමන් වෙස්ට් රිජ්වේ ඩයස් බණ්ඩාරනායක
சாலமன் வெஸ்ட் ரிட்ஜ்வே டயஸ் பண்டாரநாயக்கா
(1899–1959)
Attanagalla
12 April
1956
26 September
1959†
Minister of External Affairs and Defence Sri Lanka Freedom Party
(Mahajana Eksath Peramuna)
S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike 3rd [11]
1956
Bandaranaike changed the official language of the country from English to Sinhalese. He was assassinated before his term of office ended. [15]
5 Wijeyananda Dahanayake portrait.jpg Wijeyananda Dahanayake
විජයානන්ද දහනායක
விஜயானந்த தகநாயக்கா
(1902–1997)
Galle
26 September
1959
20 March
1960
Minister of External Affairs and Defence Sri Lanka Freedom Party Dahanayake 3rd [11]
 
Dahanayake was appointed following the assassination of Bandaranaike. However, following disagreements with the members of his government and party, he was forced to dissolve the parliament. [16]
(2) Dudley Shelton Senanayaka (1911-1973).jpg Dudley Senanayake
ඩඩ්ලි සේනානායක
டட்லி சேனநாயக்கா
(1911–1973)
Dedigama
21 March
1960
21 July
1960
Minister of External Affairs and Defence United National Party Dudley Senanayake II 4th [11]
March 1960
Senanayake's government was defeated after one month. Senanayake continued to serve as Prime Minister until 21 July 1960.
6 Sirimavo Ratwatte Dias Bandaranayaka (1916-2000) (Hon.Sirimavo Bandaranaike with Hon.Lalith Athulathmudali Crop).jpg Sirimavo Bandaranaike
සිරිමාවො රත්වත්තේ ඩයස් බණ්ඩාරනායක
சிறிமா ரத்வத்தே டயஸ் பண்டாரநாயக்கே
(1916–2000)
21 July
1960
25 March
1965
Minister of External Affairs and Defence Sri Lanka Freedom Party Sirimavo Bandaranaike I 5th [11]
July 1960
Sirimavo Bandaranaike was the world's first female prime minister. [17] She was not a member of Parliament at the time of appointment, and was appointed to the Senate on 2 August 1960.
(2) Dudley Shelton Senanayaka (1911-1973).jpg Dudley Senanayake
ඩඩ්ලි සේනානායක
டட்லி சேனநாயக்கா
(1911–1973)
Dedigama
25 March
1965
29 May
1970
Minister of External Affairs and Defence United National Party Dudley Senanayake III 6th [11]
1965
Senanayake was elected Prime Minister for the third time, when his party formed a government with the help of six other parties, after an election which did not give a clear majority to any party. The agriculture sector was given high priority during his term of office. [18]
(6) Sirimavo Ratwatte Dias Bandaranayaka (1916-2000) (Hon.Sirimavo Bandaranaike with Hon.Lalith Athulathmudali Crop).jpg Sirimavo Bandaranaike
සිරිමාවො රත්වත්තේ ඩයස් බණ්ඩාරනායක
சிறிமா ரத்வத்தே டயஸ் பண்டாரநாயக்கே
(1916–2000)
Attanagalla
29 May
1970
23 July
1977
Minister of External Affairs and Defence
& Minister of Planning & Employment
Sri Lanka Freedom Party Sirimavo Bandaranaike II 7th [11]
1970
Sirimavo Bandaranaike declared the country a republic, and its name was changed from Ceylon to Sri Lanka. [17] Nationalized many companies in the plantation sector and imposed restrictions on several imports. This led to the downfall of the country's economy, and she was defeated in the general elections of 1977, with allegations of corruption which later led to her expulsion from Parliament. [17]
7 Junius Richard Jayawardana (1906-1996).jpg Junius Richard Jayewardene
ජුනියස් රිචඩ් ජයවර්ධන
ஜூனியஸ் ரிச்சட் ஜயவர்தனா
(1906–1996)
Colombo West
23 July
1977
4 February
1978
Minister of Defence
Minister of Planning & Economic Affairs
& Minister of Plan Implementation
United National Party Jayewardene 8th [11]
1977
Introduced the Executive Presidency in 1978, and assumed the position of President of Sri Lanka. [19]
8 Ranasinghe Premadasa.jpeg Ranasinghe Premadasa
රණසිංහ ප්‍රේමදාස
ரணசிங்க பிரேமதாசா
(1924–1993)
Colombo Central
6 February
1978
2 January
1989
Minister of Local Government, Housing & Construction United National Party Jayewardene 8th [11]
 
Was the first Prime Minister to be appointed after the constitutional changes of 1978, with powers of the position reduced significantly. [20]
9 Dingiri Banda Wijetunga
ඩිංගිරි බණ්ඩා විජේතුංග
டிங்கிரி பண்ட விஜேதுங்க
(1916–2008)
Kandy
6 March
1989
7 May
1993
Minister of Finance
& Minister of Labour & Vocational Training
United National Party Premadasa 9th [11]
1989
Was appointed in a surprise move by the then President, Ranasinghe Premadasa. Wijetunge himself reacted in surprise at the appointment. [3] He resigned from the post on 28 March 1990, but was reappointed two days later, on 30 March 1990.
10 Prime Minister of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe, at Hyderabad House, in New Delhi on November 23, 2017.jpg Ranil Wickremesinghe
රනිල් වික්‍රමසිංහ
ரணில் விக்ரமசிங்க
(1949–)
Gampaha
7 May
1993
19 August
1994
United National Party Wijetunga 9th [11]
 
Appointed as the Prime Minister [21] when Wijetunge was appointed as the President of Sri Lanka, following the assassination of the former president, Ranasinghe Premadasa.
11 Chandrika Kumaratunga.jpg Chandrika Kumaratunga
චන්ද්‍රිකා බණ්ඩාරනායක කුමාරතුංග
சந்திரிகா பண்டாரநாயக்கே குமாரதுங்கா
(1945–)
Gampaha
19 August
1994
12 November
1994
Sri Lanka Freedom Party
(People's Alliance)
Wijetunga 10th [11]
1994
Served as the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka for a short period, before contesting in the presidential elections in 1994 and being elected as president. [22]
(6) Sirimavo Ratwatte Dias Bandaranayaka (1916-2000) (Hon.Sirimavo Bandaranaike with Hon.Lalith Athulathmudali Crop).jpg Sirimavo Bandaranaike
සිරිමාවො රත්වත්තේ ඩයස් බණ්ඩාරනායක
சிறிமா ரத்வத்தே டயஸ் பண்டாரநாயக்கே
(1916–2000)
National List
14 November
1994
9 August
2000
Sri Lanka Freedom Party
(People's Alliance)
Kumaratunga 10th [11]
 
Sirimavo Bandaranaike was appointed as the Prime Minister when Chandrika Kumaratunga was appointed as the President of Sri Lanka. She resigned in 2000. [17]
12 Ratnasiri Wickremanayake1.jpg Ratnasiri Wickremanayake
රත්නසිරි වික්‍රමනායක
ரத்னசிறி விக்கிரமநாயக்க
(1933–2016)
Kalutara
10 August
2000
7 December
2001
Sri Lanka Freedom Party
(People's Alliance)
Kumaratunga 10th
11th
[11]
2000
Wickremanayake assumed the office of the Prime Minister following the resignation of Sirimavo Bandaranaike. [2]
(10) Prime Minister of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe, at Hyderabad House, in New Delhi on November 23, 2017.jpg Ranil Wickremesinghe
රනිල් වික්‍රමසිංහ
ரணில் விக்ரமசிங்க
(1949–)
Colombo
9 December
2001
6 April
2004
United National Party
(United National Front)
Kumaratunga 12th [11]
2001
Wickremesinghe's term of office ended early when the then president Chandrika Kumaratunga dismissed his government and called for a general election in 2004. [23]
13 The former President of Sri Lanka, Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa meeting the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, in New Delhi on September 12, 2018 (1) (cropped).JPG Mahinda Rajapaksa
මහින්ද රාජපක්ෂ
மகிந்த ராசபக்ச
(1945–)
Hambantota
6 April
2004
19 November
2005
Ministry of Highways Sri Lanka Freedom Party
(United People's Freedom Alliance)
Kumaratunga 13th [11]
2004
Appointed as Prime Minister of the Cabinet that was formed after the elections following the dismissal of Wickremesinghe's government by President Chandrika Kumaratunga. He won the presidential elections in 2005 and assumed the office of the President of Sri Lanka. [24]
(12) Ratnasiri Wickremanayake1.jpg Ratnasiri Wickremanayake
රත්නසිරි වික්‍රමනායක
ரத்னசிறி விக்கிரமநாயக்க
(1933–2016)
National List
19 November
2005
21 April
2010
Sri Lanka Freedom Party
(United People's Freedom Alliance)
Mahinda Rajapaksa 13th [11]
 
Appointed as Prime Minister when Rajapaksa assumed the office of the President of Sri Lanka. [2]
14 Nimal Korale PM- cropped.jpg D. M. Jayaratne
දිසානායක මුදියන්සේලාගේ ජයරත්න
திசாநாயக்க முதியன்சேலாகே ஜயரத்ன
(1931–2019)
National List
21 April
2010
9 January
2015
Minister of Buddhasasana & Religious Affairs Sri Lanka Freedom Party
(United People's Freedom Alliance)
Mahinda Rajapaksa 14th [11]
2010
Appointed as Prime Minister after the parliamentary election held in April 2010 was won by the incumbent Freedom Party.
(10) Prime Minister of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe, at Hyderabad House, in New Delhi on November 23, 2017.jpg Ranil Wickremesinghe
රනිල් වික්‍රමසිංහ
ரணில் விக்ரமசிங்க
(1949–)
Colombo
9 January
2015
26 October
2018
Minister of National Policies and Economic Affairs United National Party
(United National Front for Good Governance)
Sirisena I 14th [11]
2015 Sirisena II 15th
Appointed as Prime Minister by President Maithripala Sirisena after winning 2015 presidential election and was re-elected in the 2015 parliamentary election. 2018 Sri Lankan constitutional crisis
(13) The former President of Sri Lanka, Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa meeting the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, in New Delhi on September 12, 2018 (1) (cropped).JPG Mahinda Rajapaksa
මහින්ද රාජපක්ෂ
மகிந்த ராசபக்ச
(1945–)
Kurunegala (De facto)
26 October
2018
15 December
2018
Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna
(United People's Freedom Alliance)
Sirisena III 15th [11]
Appointed by Sirisena, after sudden dismissal of incumbent Wickremesinghe. Term was challenged by Wickremesinghe and Sri Lanka had two concurrent Prime ministerial claimants. Failed to conduct a majority support vote in the house. Subsequently, resigned from office, to pave way for Wickremesinghe. [25] Duties suspended by the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka. [26] 2018 Sri Lankan constitutional crisis
(10) Prime Minister of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe, at Hyderabad House, in New Delhi on November 23, 2017.jpg Ranil Wickremesinghe
රනිල් වික්‍රමසිංහ
ரணில் விக்ரமசிங்க
(1949–)
Colombo
16 December
2018
21 November
2019
Minister of National Policies and Economic Affairs United National Party
(United National Front for Good Governance)
Sirisena IV 15th [11]
Restored as Prime Minister after the 2018 Sri Lankan constitutional crisis.
(13) The former President of Sri Lanka, Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa meeting the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, in New Delhi on September 12, 2018 (1) (cropped).JPG Mahinda Rajapaksa
මහින්ද රාජපක්ෂ
மகிந்த ராசபக்ச
(1945–)
Kurunegala)
21 November
2019
9 May
2022
Minister of Finance
Minister of Urban Development & Housing
Minister of Buddhasasana, Religious & Cultural Affairs
Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna
(Sri Lanka People's Freedom Alliance)
Gotabaya Rajapaksa I 15th [11]
2020 Gotabaya Rajapaksa II 16th
Gotabaya Rajapaksa III
Appointed by Gotabaya Rajapaksa, following the resignation of Ranil Wickremesinghe after the 2019 Sri Lankan presidential election and was re-appointed following the 2020 Sri Lankan parliamentary election. Most of his tenure was plagued with major economic and political crises. Resigned amidst the 2022 Sri Lankan protests.
(10) Prime Minister of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe, at Hyderabad House, in New Delhi on November 23, 2017.jpg Ranil Wickremesinghe
රනිල් වික්‍රමසිංහ
ரணில் விக்ரமசிங்க
(1949–)
anational list
12 May
2022
Incumbent Minister of Finance United National Party Gotabaya Rajapaksa IV 17th [11]
Appointed by Gotabaya Rajapaksa, following the resignation of Mahinda Rajapaksa amidst the 2022 Sri Lankan political crisis.

Living former prime ministers

Prime MinisterTerm of officeDate of birth
Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga 1994–199429 June 1945 (age 76)
Mahinda Rajapaksha 2004-2005,
2018,
2019-2022
18 November 1945 (age 76)

The most recent death of a former prime minister was that of D. M. Jayaratne (2010–2015) on 19 November 2019, aged 88.

Timeline

D. M. JayaratneMahinda RajapaksaRatnasiri WickremanayakeChandrika KumaratungaRanil WickremesingheDingiri Banda WijetungaRanasinghe PremadasaJunius Richard JayewardeneSirimavo BandaranaikeWijeyananda DahanayakeS. W. R. D. BandaranaikeJohn KotelawalaDudley SenanayakeDon Stephen SenanayakeList of prime ministers of Sri Lanka

See also

Notes

  1. The Parliament was known as the "House of Representatives" during the period of 1947–1972
  2. In 1972, the country was named "Free, Sovereign and Independent Republic of Sri Lanka", and the Parliament was named as the National State Assembly.
  3. Under the constitutional changes of 1978, the country was renamed as the "Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka", and the Parliament was referred to as "Parliament of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka".

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S. Thomas' College, Gurutalawa is a private Christian school situated in Gurutalawa, in the Uva Province of Sri Lanka. It is an Anglican school administrated by the Church of Ceylon.

Japan–Sri Lanka relations Bilateral relations

Japan–Sri Lanka relations refers to the bilateral relations between the Sri Lanka and Japan.

History of Sri Lanka (1948–present)

The history of Sri Lanka from 1948 to the present is marked by the independence of the country through to Dominion and becoming a Republic. The main factor has been conflict and civil war regarding the status of minority Tamils.

Prime Minister of Sri Lanka Head of government of Sri Lanka

The Prime Minister of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is the head of government of Sri Lanka, and the most senior member of parliament in the cabinet of ministers. It is the second-most powerful position in Sri Lanka's executive branch behind the president, who is the constitutional chief executive. The Cabinet is collectively held accountable to parliament for their policies and actions.

The Ministry of Highways, Ports and Shipping was a Sri Lankan government ministry responsible for the governance, implementation, creation and development of Ports including Colombo, Galle and Trincomalee ports, Highways including Southern expressway, Colombo Outer Circular expressway, Katunayake expressway and their transport services. It was reorganized as two separate ministries, the Ministry of Ports and Shipping and Ministry of Higher Education and Highways following the formation of the Sirisena cabinet in January 2015.

Ronald Abeysinghe was the former Serjeant-at-Arms of the Sri Lankan Parliament from 1970 to 1996.

2019 Sri Lankan presidential election

Presidential elections were held in Sri Lanka on 16 November 2019. The incumbent President Maithripala Sirisena's term of office would have ended on 9 January 2020. This was the first Presidential election in Sri Lanka where no sitting president, prime minister or opposition leader was contesting for president. Gotabaya Rajapaksa won this election to Sajith Premadasa.

Deshamanya Sivagami Verina "Siva" Obeyesekere was the Cabinet Minister of Health (1976-1977) and a Member of Parliament from Mirigama. She is known as the founder of the Laksala and Lakpahana.

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