1965 Ceylonese parliamentary election

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6th Ceylonese parliamentary election

← 1960 (July) 22 March 1965 1970 →

151 seats to the House of Representatives of Ceylon
76 seats were needed for a majority
  First party Second party
  Dudley Shelton Senanayaka (1911-1973).jpg Sirimavo Ratwatte Dias Bandaranayaka (1916-2000) (Hon.Sirimavo Bandaranaike with Hon.Lalith Athulathmudali Crop).jpg
Leader Dudley Senanayake Sirimavo Bandaranaike
Party United National Party Sri Lanka Freedom Party
Leader since 1957 1960
Leader's seat Dedigama Attanagalla
Last election 30 Seats, 37.19% 75 Seats, 33.22%
Seats won 66 41
Seat change Increase36 Decrease34
Popular vote 1,590,929 1,221,437
Percentage 39.31% 30.18%

Prime Minister before election

Sirimavo Bandaranaike
Sri Lanka Freedom Party

Prime Minister-designate

Dudley Senanayake
United National Party

General elections were held in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) in March 1965.


The SLFP government of Sirimavo Bandaranaike lost its majority in December 1964 when some MPs deserted it over the nationalization of Lakehouse Newspapers.

Bandaranaike's program of extensive nationalization had alarmed many of the island's business interests, which rallied to the United National Party. The economy had been stagnant, and rationing had been imposed in the face of persistent food shortages.

The UNP promised to form a National Front government to oppose the SLFP and its Marxist allies. UNP leader Dudley Senanayake promised cabinet posts both to the small Sinhala nationalist parties and the Illankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi (Federal Party).


The UNP did not obtain a majority, but was able to govern as a National Front with the ITAK's support.

e • d Summary of the 1965 Ceylonese parliamentary election[1]
Party Candidates Votes % Seats
  United National Party 116 1,590,929 39.31% 66
  Sri Lanka Freedom Party 101 1,221,437 30.18% 41
  Illankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi 20 217,914 5.38% 14
  Lanka Sama Samaja Party 25 302,095 7.47% 10
  Sri Lanka Freedom Socialist Party 32 130,429 3.22% 5
  Communist Party of Ceylon 9 109,754 2.71% 4
  All Ceylon Tamil Congress 15 98,746 2.44% 3
  Mahajana Eksath Peramuna 61 96,665 2.39% 1
  National Liberation Front 10 18,791 0.46% 1
Others 106 259,960 6.42% 6
Valid Votes 495 4,046,720 100.00% 151
Rejected Votes
Total Votes Polled
Total Electors Polled[a] 3,821,918
Registered Electors 4,710,887
Turnout[b] 81.13%


  1. ^ Total electors polled is less than total votes polled due to multiple-member seats where electors can cast more than one vote.
  2. ^ Actual turnout was slightly higher due to J. R. Jayewardene (UNP) and Bernard Soysa (LSSP) being elected from Colombo South Electoral District without a contest.


  1. ^ "Table 36 Parliament Election (1965)". Sri Lanka Statistics. 10 February 2009.