Anura Bandaranaike

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Anura Bandaranaike
අනුර බණ්ඩාරනායක
அனுரா பண்டாரநாயக்க
Anura Bandaranaike portrait.jpg
16th Speaker of the Parliament
In office
18 October 2000 – 10 October 2001
PresidentChandrika Kumaratunga
Prime MinisterRatnasiri Wickremanayake
Preceded byKiri Banda Ratnayake
Succeeded byJoseph Michael Perera
8th Leader of the Opposition
In office
8 November 1983 – 20 December 1988
PresidentJ. R. Jayewardene
Prime MinisterRanasinghe Premadasa
Preceded byA. Amirthalingam
Succeeded bySirimavo Bandaranaike
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
August 2005 – 23 November 2005
PresidentChandrika Kumaratunga
Prime MinisterMahinda Rajapaksa
Preceded byLakshman Kadirgamar
Succeeded byMangala Samaraweera
Member of Parliament
for Gampaha Electoral District
In office
Majority198,444 Preferential Votes
Member of Parliament
for Nuwara Eliya-Maskeliya
In office
21 July 1977 – 15 February 1989
Preceded byConstituency established
Succeeded byConstituency abolished
Personal details
Born(1949-02-15)February 15, 1949
Tintagel, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Died16 March 2008(2008-03-16) (aged 59)
Colombo, Sri Lanka
NationalitySri Lankan
Political partySri Lanka Freedom Party
Other political
United National Party
Alma materUniversity of London, Royal College Colombo

Anura Priyadarshi Solomon Dias Bandaranaike (February 15, 1949 – March 16, 2008) was a Sri Lankan politician, served as Speaker of the Parliament of Sri Lanka (2000-2001) and Leader of the Opposition (1983–1988). He was hold several cabinet ministries as Foreign Minister briefly in 2005, Minister of Higher Education (1993–1994), Minister of Tourism (April 2004 – January 2007), Minister of National Heritage (2007) and He last served as a member of parliament from the opposition.

Early life and family[edit]

Born on February 15, 1949 at Tintagel, Rosmead Place, Colombo to Solomon West Ridgeway Dias Bandaranaike and Sirima Ratwatte Dias Bandaranaike. He was the youngest of three siblings and only son. His family has a long history in the socio-political arena of the country. His grandfather, Sir Solomon Dias Bandaranike was the Maha Mudaliyar (the chief native interpreter and advisor to the Governor) and his maternal grandfather Barnes Ratwatte Rate Mahatmaya, Dissawa of Sabaragamuwa during British colonial rule. Bandaranaike's father Solomon West Ridgeway Dias Bandaranaike was at the time of his birth the Cabinet Minister of Health and Local Government and would become the fourth Prime Minister of Ceylon in 1956. He was assassinated on 26 September 1959, when young Anura was ten years old. His mother, took over the leadership of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party which was formed by her husband and became the first female Prime Minister in the world when she was appointed as Prime Minister of Ceylon in July 1960. He and his two elder sisters soon found themselves active in the party politics. His eldest sister Sunethra Bandaranaike, became a socialite and his other sister Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, later became the President of Sri Lanka.[1]


Bandaranaike completed his primary education at Royal Preparatory School and secondary education at the Royal College, Colombo where his contemporaries included Ranil Wickremesinghe and Dinesh Gunawardena. He then read Ancient and Modern History at the University of London, graduating with a BA Honours in 1973.[2][1]

Early political career[edit]

Bandaranaike returned to Sri Lanka in 1974, when his mother was serving her second term as Prime Minister. He soon became active in the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, having been appointed leader of its Youth Wing and thereafter Director of the National Youth Services Council. He contested the 1977 general election from the Maskeliya multi-seat constituency from the Sri Lanka Freedom Party. Though the Sri Lanka Freedom Party faced a crushing defeat in the election, Bandaranaike was elected to parliament. He would remain a member of parliament till his death.[1] Following the defeat of Sri Lanka Freedom Party government in July 1977, Bandaranaike sat in the opposition in parliament with his mother. The Sri Lanka Freedom Party became a minority in the opposition and A. Amirthalingam of the Tamil United Liberation Front became the leader of the opposition.[1]

In October 1980, following an investigation by a Special Presidential Commission appointed by President J. R. Jayawardene found corruption and abuses of power, Sirima Bandaranaike and her nephew, Felix Dias Bandaranaike had their civil liberties stripped for a period of seven years by a motion in parliament. Sirima Bandaranaike remained the party leader, but Anura Bandaranaike became the de facto leader of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party parliamentarian group.[1]

Opposition leader[edit]

With this backdrop, Anura Bandaranaike became the leader of the opposition in November 1983, when the incumbent Amirthalingam boycotted parliament and lost his seat in October 1983 while refusing swear an oath unconditionally renouncing support for a separate state. Bandaranaike served as leader of the opposition till 1988, holding a position once held by his father and mother before him.[1]

Rift within the party[edit]

He contested the 1989 general election from the Gampaha Electoral District, which was the traditional base of the Bandaranaike family. Elected to parliament with preferential votes over one hundred thousand, he once again sat in the opposition with his mother who had regained her civic rights and became the leader of the opposition having been elected to parliament. He soon fell out with his mother and was suspended from the family party by Sirimavo Bandaranaike.[3] The rift was aggravated by the return to the party of his sister Chandrika Kumaratunga who had left the family party in 1984 to join the Sri Lanka Mahajana Pakshaya formed by her husband Vijaya Kumaratunga. She then went into exile in London following Kumaratunga's assassination.[1]

United National Party[edit]

He crossed over to ruling United National Party in 1993 which appointed him Minister of Higher Education and National Reconciliation under President Dingiri Banda Wijetunge. Chandrika Kumaratunga won the 1994 general election becoming Prime Minister and thereafter won the presidential election to become President. Anura Bandaranaike, returned to the opposition from 1994 to 2000 as a National List member of parliament, he contested under the UNP ticket to Gampaha District at the 2000 General Elections and was reelected to the Parliament securing over 80000 preferential votes.[1]

Speaker of the Parliament[edit]

He was uncontestedly elected as Speaker of the 11th Parliament and served from 18 October 2000 to 10 October 2001, when parliament was dissolved and fresh elections called.[1]

Return to the Sri Lanka Freedom Party[edit]

He rejoined SLFP in 2001 to contest the elections in December that year, although the SLFP with its coalition faced a massive defeat Bandaranaike was elected to Parliament. When the SLFP led alliance of UPFA won the elections in 2004 with support of the JVP, Bandaranaike was reelected as a member of parliament to the Gampaha District and became Minister of Tourism, Industry and Investment in the new government. Following the assassination of foreign minister Lakshman Kadirgamar in August 2005, Bandaranaike was appointed as Foreign Minister, amidst increased tension throughout the country. He dropped his position as minister of industry and investment, but remained tourism minister. The party chose Mahinda Rajapakse over Bandaranaike as its candidate for the presidential election in 2005. Following Rajapakse's election victory it had been widely predicted that Bandaranaike would be appointed Prime Minister or remain as foreign minister. However, Rajapakse appointed Ratnasiri Wickremanayake as Prime Minister since many saw Bandaranaike didnot co-operate in the presidential campaign. He was slowly sidelined in the party as the Rajapakse bloc grew.[1] However he was accused of playing a "negative"/"non supportive" role in the campaign and was offered only the tourism ministry instead. Even before the presidential elections in 2005, Anura was diagnosed to have a cancer.[3] He recovered from the initial shock of the bad news but never recovered from the shock of having to accept the toothless National Heritage Portfolio in a cabinet reshuffle in January 2007.[3] On 9 February 2007, he was sacked as the minister of national heritage, together with ministers Mangala Samaraweera and Sripathi Sooriyarachchi after falling out with the President Mahinda Rajapakse, the party leader. Less than two weeks later, after reconciling with Rajapakse, Bandaranaike agreed to come back into the government, again being sworn in as Minister of National Heritage. On the 14 December 2007 he crossed over to the opposition benches thus leaving his ministerial posts. Despite being in politics for over a quarter of a century, he has only been in a governing side for about 5 years.[4][5][6]


Bandaranaike died on 16 March 2008 at Visumpaya, his official residence in Colombo, following a period of prolonged illness due to cancer. He had been diagnosed with cancer a few years before his death and had been hospitalized for several months. A few weeks prior to his death, he had taken three months leave from parliament.[7]

Further reading[edit]

  • Jayaram, P. (1994-01-15). "Bandaranaike family splits as Anura Bandaranaike joins government". India Today.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Jeyaraj, D.B.S. "Crown Prince of Sri Lankan Politics But never crowned King". Financial Times. Retrieved 2 May 2020.
  2. ^ "MR. ANURA BANDARANAIKE (AUGUST – NOVEMBER,2005)". Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Retrieved 2 May 2020.
  3. ^ a b c Shamindra Fernando.Close friend's reminisce how he missed the bus.Anura's dropped catches.The Island.Available online.
  4. ^ "FM chosen from Sri Lankan dynasty". BBC News. 22 August 2005.
  5. ^ "Sri Lanka ruling party sparks fly". BBC News. 13 September 2005.
  6. ^ "Anura: Boycott Burmese products". BBC News. 30 September 2007.
  7. ^ "Anura Bandaranaike dies". Outlook India. 16 March 2008 – via PTI.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
K. B. Ratnayake
Speaker of the Parliament
Succeeded by
Joseph Michael Perera
Preceded by Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka
Succeeded by