President of Sri Lanka
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (May 2014)|
|President of Sri Lanka|
Emblem of Sri Lanka
|Style||His Excellency the President|
|Term length||Six years, renewable|
|Inaugural holder||William Gopallawa
22 May 1972
|Formation||22 May 1972|
|This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
The President of Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka (Sinhala: Sri Lankavay Janadhipathi) is the elected head of state and the head of government. The President is a dominant political figure in Sri Lanka. The office was created in 1978. The current President is Mahinda Rajapaksa.
At independence, executive power in Ceylon resided with the monarch of Ceylon, represented by the Governor-General, which was exercised on the advice of the Prime Minister. The 1972 constitution removed the monarch and replaced the governor-general with a president, but it remained a mostly ceremonial position.
The 1978 constitution moved from a Westminster-based political system into one modeled on France. As in France, a new, directly elected President with a longer term and independence from Parliament was created. The President is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, head of the Cabinet, appoints the prime minister, and could dissolve parliament (after one year has passed since the convening of parliament after a parliamentary election) The 17th constitutional amendment of 2001 reduced certain powers of the President in particular in regard to the appointment of the upper judiciary and independent commissions such as the election commission or the bribery and corruption commission. After 2005 this amendment has been illegally ignored by the president.
In practice, the Sri Lankan presidency was much more powerful than the President of France. French presidents traditionally deal only with defense and foreign policy, leaving domestic affairs to the Prime Minister. Sri Lankan presidents are involved with every aspect of the government and are able to hold cabinet portfolios, or can bypass the cabinet posts by delegating decisions to the Presidential Secretariat.
||The neutrality of this section is disputed. (July 2014)|
Presidents have little constraints on their power and they cannot be taken to court. However they can be impeached by a two-thirds majority in Parliament. They can place the country in a state of emergency, under which they can override any law passed and promulgate any regulation without needing legislative approval. However, to prolong the state of emergency for more than a month parliamentary approval is needed.
At the opening of Parliament, the President delivers an address similar to a Speech from the Throne, outlining government policy.
In the 1994 election, Chandrika Kumaratunga of the People's Alliance promised to be the last Executive President, bringing in constitutional reforms to return to Westminster-style government. This did not happen during her time in office. While some political parties have expressed their concerns on the executive presidency, its abolition is unlikely within the current Sri Lankan political framework in which the incumbent president Mahinda Rajapaksa and his family have usurped power and systematically worked to wipe out all democratic opposition by either force or by using the wealth they have accumulated since coming to power.
The official residence of the president is the President's House (formally the Queen's House as the residences of the Governor General) in Colombo. However the president's office is the Presidential Secretariat which is at the former Parliament building in Colombo, where many formal functions takes place. Other presidential residences include:
- the President's Pavilion, in Kandy, is a presidential residences used for (rare) state functions;
- the Queen's Cottage is the official presidential vacationing residence in the town of Nuwara Eliya.
List of Presidents
|Mahinda Rajapaksa||United People's Freedom Alliance||6,015,934||57.88%|
|Sarath Fonseka||New Democratic Front||4,173,185||40.15%|
|Mohomad Cassim Mohomad Ismail||Democratic United National Front||39,226||0.38%|
|Achala Ashoka Suraweera||National Development Front||26,266||0.25%|
|Channa Janaka Sugathsiri Gamage||United Democratic Front||23,290||0.22%|
|W. V. Mahiman Ranjith||Independent||18,747||0.18%|
|A. S. P Liyanage||Sri Lanka Labour Party||14,220||0.14%|
|Sarath Manamendra||New Sinhala Heritage||9,684||0.09%|
|M. K. Shivajilingam||Independent||9,662||0.09%|
|Lal Perera||Our National Front||9,353||0.09%|
|Siritunga Jayasuriya||United Socialist Party||8,352||0.08%|
|Vikramabahu Karunaratne||Left Front||7,055||0.07%|
|Aithurus M. Illias||Independent||6,131||0.06%|
|Wije Dias||Socialist Equality Party||4,195||0.04%|
|Sanath Pinnaduwa||National Alliance||3,523||0.03%|
|M. Mohamed Musthaffa||Independent||3,134||0.03%|
|Battaramulle Seelarathana Thero||Jana Setha Peramuna||2,770||0.03%|
|Senaratna de Silva||Patriotic National Front||2,620||0.03%|
|Aruna de Zoyza||Ruhuna People's Party||2,618||0.03%|
|Upali Sarath Kongahage||United National Alternative Front||2,260||0.02%|
|Muthu Bandara Theminimulla||All Are Citizens, All Are Kings Organisation||2,007||0.02%|
|Source: Department of Elections, Sri Lanka|
- Website of the Parliament of Sri Lanka - list of Heads of State
- Sri Lankan President's Official Web Site
- The Official of Web Site of Presidential Secretariat of Sri Lanka
- Indian Express on the Executive Presidency
- Sri Lanka President 2010 News