Dudley Senanayake

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The Right Honourable
Dudley Senanayake
Dudley Shelton Senanayaka As The Prime Minister of Ceylon.jpg
Prime Minister of Ceylon
In office
26 March 1952 – 12 October 1953
Monarch Elizabeth II
Preceded by Don Stephen Senanayake
Succeeded by John Kotelawala
In office
21 March 1960 – 21 July 1960
Monarch Elizabeth II
Preceded by Wijeyananda Dahanayake
Succeeded by Sirimavo Bandaranaike
In office
25 March 1965 – 29 May 1970
Monarch Elizabeth II
Preceded by Sirimavo Bandaranaike
Succeeded by Sirimavo Bandaranaike
Member of the Ceylon Parliament
for Dedigama
In office
14 October 1947 – 10 April 1956
Succeeded by Maitripala Herath
In office
10 April 1956 – 13 April 1973
Preceded by Maitripala Herath
Succeeded by Rukman Senanayake
Personal details
Born (1911-06-19)19 June 1911
Ceylon
Died 13 April 1973(1973-04-13) (aged 61)
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Nationality Sri Lanka Sri Lankan
Political party United National Party
Profession Politician, Barrister
Religion Theravada Buddhism

Dudley Shelton Senanayake (Sinhala: ඩඩ්ලි ශෙල්ටන් සේනානායක; 19 June 1911 – 13 April 1973) was a Ceylonese (now Sri Lanka) politician, who became the second Prime Minister of Ceylon and went on to become prime minister on three more times during the 1950s and 1960s.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

Dudley was born on 19 June 1911 as the eldest son to Molly Dunuwila and Don Stephen Senanayake, who would become the first Prime Minister of Ceylon and found the United National Party which is still one of the main political parties in Sri Lanka and of which Dudley would become a lifelong member. Dudley received his secondary education at the prestigious S. Thomas' College, where he excelled in his studies and sports.

He become the Head Prefect, captained the college team at cricket at the Royal-Thomian and gained colours in Hockey, Boxing and Athletics. Senanayake then went on to Corpus Christi College, Cambridge to read for Natural Science Tripos and later was admitted to Middle Temple as a Barrister.

Political career[edit]

After returning to Ceylon, Dudley was elected a member of the State Council while his father was Minister of Agriculture and served as a back-bencher for 10 years. He succeeding his father as Minister of Agriculture in 1946 and held the post after Independence. He was still serving as agriculture minister when his father died unexpectedly. Four days later, on 26 March 1952, to the surprise of many, Dudley was chosen as prime minister by the Governor-General Lord Soulbury over his cousin Sir John Kotelawala.

He called a general election, which the UNP won. The government became unpopular a year later, in 1953, when the price of rice was raised and subsidies were cut. Though the UNP remained in power, Senanayake resigned as prime minister during the Hartal 1953 and left politics.

He returned to politics in 1957 when the UNP lost elections. In March 1960, the UNP managed to form a government after elections and Senanayake became prime minister again, but the coalition fragmented and Dudley resigned as prime minister after only four months in office after new elections were held in which the UNP won less seats. He became the leader of the opposition and help force early elections in 1965 by persuading 14 supporters of Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike to defect.

Senanayake served his longest term as prime minister from March 1965 to May 1970. His government originally consisted of six other parties and included both Tamil and Sinhalese nationalists. His government has been credited with restoring the Sri Lankan economy. He and his allies were defeated in the 1970 elections. He remained active in politics until his death, which occurred after a long illness on 13 April 1973.

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External links[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by
Sirimavo Ratwatte Dias Bandaranaike
Prime Minister of Ceylon
1965–1970
Succeeded by
Sirimavo Ratwatte Dias Bandaranaike
Preceded by
Wijeyananda Dahanayake
Prime Minister of Ceylon
1960–1960
Succeeded by
Sirimavo Ratwatte Dias Bandaranaike
Preceded by
Don Stephen Senanayake
Prime Minister of Ceylon
1952–1953
Succeeded by
John Lionel Kotalawela