|Former Cabinet Minister of Foreign Affairs, Higher Education, Tourism and National Heritage|
|Member of the Sri Lanka Parliament
for Nuwara Eliya
|Speaker of the Parliament of Sri Lanka|
|Leader of the Opposition (1983–1988)|
|Born||February 15, 1949
Attanagalla, Sri Lanka
|Died||16 March 2008
Colombo, Sri Lanka
|Political party||Sri Lanka Freedom Party|
Anura Priyadarshi Solomon Dias Bandaranaike (February 15, 1949 – March 16, 2008) was a Sri Lankan politician, served as Speaker (2000–2001), and in several cabinet ministries as Foreign Minister briefly in 2005, Minister of Higher Education (1993–1994), Minister of Tourism (April 2004 – January 2007), Minister of National Heritage (2007) and Leader of the Opposition (1983–1988). He last served as a member of parliament from the opposition.
He was the son of former Prime Ministers Solomon West Ridgeway Dias Bandaranaike and Sirimavo Ratwatte Dias Bandaranaike and the younger brother of former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga and Sunethra Bandaranaike, philanthropist. His father, Solomon, while serving as prime minister, was assassinated when Bandaranaike was 10 years old.
His family has a long history in the socio-political arena of the country. His grandfather, Sir Solomon Dias Bandaranike was the Maha Mudaliyar (the chief native interpreter and advisor to the Governor) during British colonial rule. Despite these family connections, Bandaranaike missed the chance of becoming the President of Sri Lanka on several occasions.
Bandaranaike completed his primary education at Royal Preparatory School and secondary education at the Royal College, Colombo. He then pursued further studies at the University of London where he studied History and Political Science.
Bandaranaike was elected to Parliament in 1977 from the Maskeliya multi-seat constituency representing the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) although it faced a crushing defeat that year and has been a member of parliament up until his death in 2008. Became the leader of the opposition from 1983 to 1988. Leaving his family's party in 1993 to join the United National Party (UNP), he served as Minister of Higher Education from 1993 to 1994. Serving in the opposition from 1994 to 2000, he was elected as Speaker of the 11th Parliament. He rejoined SLFP in 2001 to contest the elections in December that year, although the SLFP with its coalition faced a massive defeat Bandaranaike was elected to Parliament. When the SLFP led alliance of UPFA won the elections in 2004 with support of the JVP, Bandaranaike became Minister of Tourism, Industry and Investment in the new government. Following the assassination of foreign minister Lakshman Kadirgamar in August 2005, Bandaranaike was appointed as Foreign Minister, amidst increased tension throughout the country. He dropped his position as minister of industry and investment, but remained tourism minister. The party chose Mahinda Rajapakse over Bandaranaike as its candidate for the presidential election in 2005. Following Rajapakse's election victory it had been widely predicted that Bandaranaike would be appointed Prime Minister or remain as foreign minister.
However he was accused of playing a "negative"/"non supportive" role in the campaign and was offered only the tourism ministry instead. In a cabinet reshuffle in January 2007, Anura also lost the tourism ministry but remained as national heritage. On 9 February 2007, he was sacked as the minister of national heritage, together with ministers Mangala Samaraweera and Sripathi Sooriyarachchi after falling out with the President Mahinda Rajapakse, the party leader. Less than two weeks later, after reconciling with Rajapakse, Bandaranaike agreed to come back into the government, again being sworn in as Minister of National Heritage. On the 14 December 2007 he crossed over to the opposition benches thus leaving his ministerial posts. Despite being in politics for over a quarter of a century, he has only been in a governing side for about 5 years.
He died on 16 March 2008 in Colombo at his official residence, Visumpaya following a period of prolonged illness for which he was hospitalized for several months. A few weeks prior to his death he had taken 3 months leave from parliament.
- The Bandaranaike Ancestry
- The Ratwatte Ancestry
- Website of the Parliament of Sri Lanka - list of Speakers
- Website of the Parliament of Sri Lanka - list of Leaders of the Opposition
- Sri Lanka Freedom Party's official Website
- Ceylon Today:Mansion steeped in history
K. B. Ratnayake
|Speaker of the Parliament
Joseph Michael Perera
|Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka