Sri Lanka Freedom Party

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Sri Lanka Freedom Party
Sri Lanka Nidahas Pakshaya
Sinhala name ශ්‍රී ලංකා නිදහස් පක්ෂය
Tamil name இலங்கை சுதந்திரக் கட்சி
Leader Maithripala Sirisena
Chairperson Maithripala Sirisena
Secretary-General Anura Priyadarshana Yapa
Founder S.W.R.D Bandaranaike
Parliamentary Leader Nimal Siripala de Silva
Founded September 2, 1951 (1951-09-02)
Split from United National Party
Preceded by Sinhala Maha Sabha
Headquarters 307 T. B. Jayah Mawatha, Colombo 10
Newspaper Singhale, Dinakara
Youth wing Nil Balakaya (Dissolved)
Ideology Social democracy
Third Way
Sinhalese nationalism (minority)[1][2]
Political position Centre-left
National affiliation United People's Freedom Alliance
(2004 – Present)
People's Alliance
(1994 – 2004)
Colors      Blue
Parliament of Sri Lanka
116 / 225
Election symbol
Politics of Sri Lanka
Political parties

The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (Sinhalese: ශ්‍රී ලංකා නිදහස් පක්ෂය Sri Lanka Nidahas Pakshaya, Tamil: இலங்கை சுதந்திரக் கட்சி) is one of the major political parties in Sri Lanka. It was founded by S.W.R.D Bandaranaike in 1951 [3] and, since then, has been one of the two largest parties in the Sri Lankan political arena. It first came to power in 1956 and since then has been the predominant party in government on a number of occasions.[4] The party is generally considered as having a socialist or progressive economic agenda and is often associated with hard-line nationalist Sinhala parties. The Sri Lanka Freedom Party is currently a part of the UPFA (United People's Freedom Alliance).


After independence, the SLFP represented a form of non-revolutionary socialism and a policy of non-alignment with strong ties to socialist countries. Its populist and nationalist policies in the aftermath of Sri Lankan independence supported its rapid rise towards attaining major party status alongside the centre-right United National Party. After its founder and first national Prime Minister, S.W.R.D Bandaranaike was assassinated in 1959, the party turned to his widow Sirimavo Bandaranaike who consequently in 1960 became the world's first elected female head of government.

Sirimavo Bandaranaike's government pursued several socialist policies during her terms as Prime Minister between 1960-1964 as well as 1970-1977. The SLFP government nationalized key sectors of the economy during this period such as banking and insurance, the Ceylon Transport Board and also all schools then owned by the Roman Catholic Church in 1961.[5] Furthermore, SLFP policies that supported the Sinhalese people majority of the country, who were considered underprivileged compared to the Christian minority led to the failed 1962 coup. Sirimavo's first term initiated the trend of the SLFP forging alliances with other leftist parties such as the Communist Party of Sri Lanka and the Lanka Sama Samaja Party which continues to this day with the United People's Freedom Alliance.[6]

After facing several years in the political wilderness between 1977 and 1994, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party and allied political parties made a comeback at the 1994 Presidential Elections and parliamentary elections under Chandrika Kumaratunga, whose subsequent following of liberal economic policies and reputation of corrupt practices [5] left many members in the party uneasy.[6]

After President Chandrika Kumaratunga's term ended, the SLFP chose Mahinda Rajapaksa over Anura Bandaranaike as its candidate to contest 2005 Presidential elections, which he subsequently won the election.

At the last legislative elections, held on 8 April 2010, the party was the leading party in the United People's Freedom Alliance that won 60.33% of the popular vote and currently holds 160 out of 225 seats.[7] Under the current UPFA government led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Sri Lankan Civil War was brought to an end through a military victory. The UPFA today continues to pursue its foreign and economic policies in line with the SLFP's traditional East-leaning and progressive ideologies.

Divided into two factors[edit]

Following the defeat of Mahinda Rajapaksa's 2015 Presidential Election and a victory for former General Secretary Maithripala Sirisena which led to divide the party into two factor that claims Nimal Siripala appoints former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as leader of the party while another group of MPs representing the party on behalf of Sarath Amunugama that appoints President Maithripala Sirisena as the Chairman of the Party. After the announcement made by Sarath Amunugama, General Secretary Anura Priyadarshana Yapa and Nimal Siripala of the party denied that the appointment made by Sarath Amunugama is false, which led the party to divide into two factors that representing the party with same MPs and different leaders.[8]

During the press conference of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa it was stated that he has officially been claimed as leader of the opposition party and will be active to represent the party to the Parliament that was backed by 41 MPs and members of the party including the UPFA.[9]

Later after several meetings it was decided that the incumbent President Maithreepala Sirisena should be named as the Leader of the SLFP, but it was also decided that SLFP Would be sitting as the Opposition and MP Nimal Siripala de Silva would be the Opposition Leader.




  • Sri Lanka Nidahas Bhikku Sanvidanaya
  • Sri Lanka Nidahas Indigenous physicians Organization
  • Sri Lanka Nidahas Teachers Union
  • Sri Lanka Nidahas Farmers’ Organization
  • Sri Lanka Nidahas Sewaka Sangamaya
  • Sri Lanka Nidahas Medical Group
  • Sri Lanka Nidahas Students’ Organization
  • Sri Lanka Nidahas Fishermen and Domestic Industrialists organization
  • Sri Lanka Nidahas Cultural Organization
  • Sri Lanka Nidahas Lawyers Organization
  • Sri Lanka Nidahas Provincial Council members’ Association
  • Sri Lanka Nidahas Association of members of local authority
  • Sri Lanka Nidahas Management Assistant Union
  • Sri Lanka Freedom Graduates Association.
  • Sri Lanka Freedom development Officer Association.


  • "Singhale" - First SLFP journal 1956 ( Founder editor Dharma Sri Kuruppu )
  • Dinakara - News paper


  1. ^ de Silva, Nalin (22 March 2011). "Sri Lanka is neither Egypt nor Libya". The Island. 
  2. ^ "Sri Lanka: The ethnic divide". BBC News. 16 May 2000. 
  3. ^ Charting a new course for Sri Lanka’s success. Daily News (Sri Lanka), 16 November 2009.
  4. ^ "Sri Lanka Freedom Party, or SLFP (political party, Sri Lanka)". BRITANNICA-Online. 
  5. ^ a b "Sirimavo Bandaranaike". Britannica. 
  6. ^ a b De Silva, K.M. A History of Sri Lanka, Colombo: 2005. ISBN 978-955-8095-92-8.
  7. ^ "New blow for Sri Lankan peace pact". CNN News. January 20, 2004. 
  8. ^ "SLFP MPs, Dayasiri join Maithri". Colombo Gazette. 11 January 2015. Retrieved 12 January 2015. 
  9. ^ "MR claims he is SLFP President". Colombo Gazette. Retrieved 12 January 2015. 

External links[edit]