||This article may require copy editing for grammar, style, cohesion, tone, or spelling. (October 2012)|
|5th President of Sri Lanka|
12 November 1994 – 19 November 2005
|Prime Minister||Sirimavo Bandaranaike
|Preceded by||Dingiri Banda Wijetunga|
|Succeeded by||Mahinda Rajapaksa|
|Prime Minister of Sri Lanka|
19 August 1994 – 12 November 1994
|President||Dingiri Banda Wijetunga|
|Preceded by||Ranil Wickremasinghe|
|Succeeded by||Sirimavo Bandaranaike|
|Born||29 June 1945|
|Political party||Freedom Party|
|Alma mater||Paris Institute of Political Science|
Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga (Sinhala: චන්ද්රිකා බන්ඩාරනායක කුමාරතුංග,Tamil: சந்திரிகா பண்டாரநாயக்க குமாரதுங்க; born 29 June 1945) was the 5th President of Sri Lanka, serving from 12 November 1994 to 19 November 2005. The daughter of two former Prime Ministers, she was also the leader of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) until the end of 2005. She is Sri Lanka's only female president to date.
Early life and education 
Born Chandrika Bandaranaike, she hales from an aristocratic family that has a long history in the socio-political arena of the country, her father, S.W.R.D Bandaranaike was a government minister at the time of her birth and later became Prime Minister. He was assassinated in 1959, when Chandrika was fourteen. Chandrika's mother, Sirimavo Bandaranaike, then became the world's first female prime minister (1960). Her brother, Anura Bandaranaike, was a former Speaker of the Parliament of Sri Lanka and a former minister. Her grandfather, Sir Solomon Dias Bandaranike, was the Maha Mudaliyar, (the chief Ceylonese representative and advisor to the Governor of Ceylon) during British colonial rule.
She was educated at the St Bridget's Convent, Colombo. In 1965 she entered the Aquinas University College and gained a scholarship to the University of Paris in 1967, where she spent five years, graduating from the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po) in political science. She also spent one year at Sciences Po Aix. While in Paris she obtained a Diploma in Group Leadership from the same University.Her Ph.D studies in Development Economics at the University of Paris were interrupted when she returned to Sri Lanka to enter politics, where her mother’s government had launched a wide ranging programme of socialist reform and development. During her days in France, she was active in the Student Revolution of 1968. She is fluent in Sinhala, English and French.
She married film star and Sri Lankan politician, Vijaya Kumaratunga (also Kumaranatunga), in 1978.
Political career 
After returning to Sri Lanka, she took up politics in the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and, in 1974, became an Executive Committee member of its Women's League. Following the land reforms in Sri Lanka from 1972–1976. She was the principal director of the Land Reform Commission. From 1976–1977, she was chairman of the Janawasa Commission, which established collective farms. From 1976–1979, she acted as a consultant to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
She stayed in active politics supporting her husband's party, the Sri Lanka Mahajana Party, by leaving the SLFP. After Kumaratunga was assassinated, she left the country for the United Kingdom, working for World Institute for Development Economics Research at the United Nations University in the interim, and not returning till 1991.
Prime Ministry and Presidency 
Kumaratunga was elected as the chief minister of the Western Province of Sri Lanka in 1993 in a landslide election victory. Kumaratunga herself was elected Prime Minister of a People's Alliance (PA) government on 19 August 1994 and President in the presidential election held shortly thereafter in November. This ended 17 years of UNP rule. She appointed her mother to succeed her as Prime Minister. Early in her term she made conciliatory moves towards the separatist Tamil Tigers in an attempt to end the ongoing civil war. These overtures failed, and she later pursued a more military-based strategy against them.
Assassination attempt and election win 
In October 1999, Kumaratunga called an early presidential election. She lost vision in her right eye (permanent optic nerve damage) in an assassination attempt, by the separatist Tamil Tigers, at her final election rally at Colombo Town Hall premises on 18 December 1999. President Kumaratunga defeated Ranil Wickremasinghe in the election held on 21 December and was sworn in for another term the next day.
In December 2001 she suffered a setback in the parliamentary election. Her People's Alliance lost to the UNP, and her political opponent, Ranil Wickremasinghe, took office as Sri Lanka's new Prime Minister. She continued as President of Sri Lanka although her relationship with the Wickremasinghe government was a strained one.
In February 2002 Wickremasinghe's government and the LTTE signed a permanent ceasefire agreement, paving the way for talks to end the long-running conflict with the revolutionaries. In December, the government and the rebels agreed to share power during peace talks in Norway. President Kumaratunga believed Wickremasinghe was being too lenient towards the LTTE. In May 2003 she indicated her willingness to sack the prime minister and government if she felt they were making too many concessions to the rebels. On 4 November 2003, while Prime Minister Wickremasinghe was on an official visit to the United States, Kumaratunga prorogued Parliament and assigned Defense Interior and Media ministries on her.
Kumaratunga's PA and the leftist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna or JVP (People's Liberation Front) formed the United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) in January 2004 and dissolved Parliament. Having won the election held on 2 April 2004 the UPFA formed a government with Mahinda Rajapaksa as prime minister. This marked the first time in history that the JVP became a partner in a Sri Lankan government.
However, in June 2005, the JVP left her government over a disagreement regarding a joint mechanism with LTTE rebels to share foreign aid to rebuild the tsunami-devastated Northern and Eastern areas of Sri Lanka.
Kumaratunga's six-year term ended in 2005. She argued that since the 1999 election had been held one year early, she should be allowed to serve that left-over year. Mahinda Rajapaksa succeeded her as president, leading all 25 parties in the UPFA.
President Chandrika Kumaratunga is a member of the Council of Women World Leaders, an International network of current and former women presidents and prime ministers whose mission is to mobilize the highest-level women leaders globally for collective action on issues of critical importance to women and equitable development.
Kumaratunga was recently (Nov 2009) appointed to the 12 member Board of Directors of the Club of Madrid. She is a frequent panellist and advisor to the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) annual meeting held every September and is a member of the CGI.
Aftermath of presidency 
Kumaratunga is a member of the Club of Madrid, an organization of more than 80 former Presidents and Prime Ministers of democratic countries, which works to promote democratic governance and leadership worldwide.
Kumaratunga noted recently in 2007 "I sincerely tried to reach a political consensus to solve the ethnic question, and tried to introduce a pluralistic constitution that would cater to the political aspirations of the Tamil people without dividing the country".
On September 2009, Kumaratunga, was on a personal visit to Kerala, India told reporters "I too care for my life. Even though the current government is a government of my party (Sri Lanka Freedom Party) I don't feel safe,". "There is an overall lack of freedom and an atmosphere of fear prevails in the country.The basic rights of the people and media freedom are restricted in Sri Lanka" 
Chandrika Kumaratunga is a Member of the Global Leadership Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation that offers, discreetly and confidentially, a range of experienced advisors to political leaders facing difficult situations. The Global Leadership Foundation works to support democratic leadership, prevent and resolve conflict through mediation and promote good governance in the form of democratic institutions, open markets, human rights and the rule of law. It does so by making available, discreetly and in confidence, the experience of former leaders to today’s national leaders. It is a not-for-profit organisation composed of former heads of government, senior governmental and international organization officials who work closely with Heads of Government on governance-related issues of concern to them.
Family life 
Chandrika married movie star and politician Vijaya Kumaratunga in 1978. Vijaya Kumaratunga was assassinated on 16 February 1988, outside his residence in the presence of Chandrika and their two children then aged 5 years and 7 years. The extremist Marxist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) claimed responsibility for this act. Vijaya Kumaratunga's funeral, remains to date, the largest attended funeral of any politician or film idol in Sri Lanka (and potentially in the whole of Asia). Their two children Yasodhara Kumaratunga Walker (born 1980) is a Medical Doctor (Corpus Christi College, University of Cambridge and St George's Medical School, University of London) and Vimukthi Kumaratunga (born 1982) is a Veterinary Surgeon University of Bristol, UK .President Kumaratunga's sister Sunethra Bandaranaike is a well known philanthropist and runs the Sunera Trust. Her brother Anura Bandaranaike died in March 2008.
See also 
- "BBC Profile: Chandrika Kumaratunga". BBC News. August 26, 2005.
- "Chandrika Kumaratunga: Politics in the blood". BBC News. 9 October 2000.
- "Presidential poll in Sri Lanka". BBC News. 1999-10-20. Retrieved 2010-04-28.
- "Kumaratunga Interview". Time Asia. March 22, 2004.
- "General Assembly of the United Nations-15 September 2005" (PDF).
- "Chandrika Kumaratunga | Club de Madrid". Clubmadrid.org. Retrieved 2012-08-17.
- "The Queen ponders a return". HIMAL South Asian.
- Talked to reporters in Sep 2009
- The Bandaranaike Ancestry
- The Ratwatte Ancestry
- Economic and political agenda of a people's President
- Chandrika Kumaratunga's official website
- Sri Lanka Freedom Party's official Website
- Profile by BBC
- Search BBC for news about Chandrika Kumaratunga
- Ministry of Defence : Sri Lanka
- Profile of Mrs. Chandrika Kumaratunga on Sri Lankan government website
- Personal reminiscence of meeting with the Sri Lankan President by S. Abbas Raza of 3 Quarks Daily.
|Prime Minister of Sri Lanka
Dingiri Banda Wijetunga
|President of Sri Lanka