Ratnasiri Wickremanayake

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Ratnasiri Wickremanayake
රත්නසිරි වික්‍රමනායක
ரத்னசிறி விக்கிரமநாயக்க
Ratnasiri Wickremanayake1.jpg
Wickremanayake in 2009
Prime Minister of Sri Lanka
In office
19 November 2005 – 21 April 2010
PresidentMahinda Rajapaksa
Preceded byMahinda Rajapaksa
Succeeded byD. M. Jayaratne
In office
10 August 2000 – 9 December 2001
PresidentChandrika Kumaratunga
Preceded bySirimavo Bandaranaike
Succeeded byRanil Wickremesinghe
11th Leader of the Opposition
In office
18 December 2001 – 31 January 2002
PresidentChandrika Kumaratunga
Prime MinisterRanil Wickremesinghe
Preceded byRanil Wickremesinghe
Succeeded byMahinda Rajapakse
Personal details
Born5 May 1933
British Ceylon
Died27 December 2016 (aged 83)
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Political partySri Lanka Freedom Party
Other political
United People's Freedom Alliance
Spouse(s)Kusum Wickremanayake

Ratnasiri Wickremanayake (Sinhala: රත්නසිරි වික්‍රමනායක, Tamil: ரத்னசிறி விக்கிரமநாயக்க; 5 May 1933 – 27 December 2016) was a Sri Lankan politician who was Prime Minister of Sri Lanka from 2000 to 2001 and again from 2005 to 2010.[1] He was a Member of Parliament representing Horana electorate and later Kalutara District.

Wickremanayake held many ministerial positions in the Sri Lankan government, beginning in 1970.

Early life[edit]

Wickremanayake was educated in Millewa Primary School, Dharmapala Vidyalaya, Pannipitiya, Hartley College, Point Pedro and Ananda College, Colombo[2] and later as a student joined Lincoln's Inn to become a Barrister of Law,[2] but ultimately chose to enter politics rather than appear for the exam.[3] During his time in United Kingdom he was elected president of the Ceylon Students' Association in the United Kingdom in 1955.[3]

Early political career[edit]

Wickremanayake entered politics in 1960.[4][5] He was elected to the legislature in 1960, from Horana for the Lanka Sama Samaja Party (then a part of the People's United Front alliance).[4][5] Wickremanayake joined the SLFP in 1962.[6] He was re-elected twice (in 1965 and 1970) to the legislature for Horana from the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP).[6]

Wickremanayake received his first ministerial appointment in 1970,[7] when he was appointed Deputy Minister for Justice in the United Front government under Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike.[4][6][7] In 1975, Wickremanayake was appointed Minister of Plantation Industries and the next year was also Minister of Justice.[6][8] Wickremanayake lost his Parliamentary seat in the landslide defeat of the SLFP in the general elections of 1977.[6] He became General Secretary of the SLFP in 1978.[4]

In the general elections of 1994, Wickremanayake won the Kalutara District seat and then became Minister of Public Administration, Home Affairs and Plantation Industries in the government of President Chandrika Kumaratunga.[5][6]

Prime Minister and Opposition leadership[edit]

Wickremanayake first served as Prime Minister from August 2000 to December 2001,[1] succeeding Sirimavo Bandaranaike, who resigned from the position at the age of 84.[9] He was sworn into office on 13 October 2000.[10] He escaped an assassination attempt by a suicide bomber during the 2001 election.[10] He lost his premiership role in December 2001 when his party lost to the opposition party, United National Party, by taking 109 of the 225 Parliament seats.[10]

Wickremanayake was the senior vice-president of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP).[11]

After the SLFP won the 2004 parliamentary elections, Wickremanayake was appointed Minister of Buddhist Affairs, Public Security, and Law and Order, and Deputy Minister for Defence.[6][12][13] He was sworn in for a second time as Prime Minister of Sri Lanka by President Mahinda Rajapaksa on 21 November 2005.[12]

During Presidency of Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, he held the Public Administration, Home Affairs and Plantation Industries portfolios.[4] His son Vidura Wickremanayake is also a Member of Parliament.[14]

During his first tenure as Prime Minister, he refused to consider talks with the LTTE separatist group, and renounced terrorism.[15] He called for Sri Lanka's family planning policies to be modified, to encourage people to have more children.[16][17] Wickremanayake was considered a hardline opponent of Tamil separatists.[4] He also opposed the present ceasefire arrangements at the time they were put in place.[4]

During his tenure as the Leader of the Opposition in 2002, Wickremanayake "openly supported unconditional dialogue with the LTTE."[18] On 5 February 2010, he told the Parliament that his government offered the LTTE group amnesty in exchange for surrendering themselves, refused ceasefire appeals from international bodies, and "vowed to crush those who fight on."[19]


On 21 December 2016, Wickremanayake was admitted to a private hospital in Colombo. He died on 27 December 2016 at the age of 83 due to an unspecified illness.[14][20][21] He was serving as the Senior Advisor to President Maithripala Sirisena at the time of his death.[5][22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Santiago, Melanie (11 June 2015). "Update: Two former prime ministers appointed senior presidential advisers". News First. Retrieved 28 December 2016.
  2. ^ a b Abeynaike, H. B. W.; Ameratunga, H. P. (1970). The Ceylon Daily News: Parliament of Ceylon, 1970. The Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Limited. p. 61. Alternative results.
  3. ^ a b Wickremanayake, Ratnasiri (19 March 2010). "Looking back on 50 years". Daily News (Interview). Interviewed by Chaminda Perera. Sri Lanka. Retrieved 28 December 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Peebles, Patrick (2015). "Wickremanayake, Ratnasiri (1933–)". Historical Dictionary of Sri Lanka (illustrated ed.). Rowman & Littlefield. p. 386. ISBN 9781442255852.
  5. ^ a b c d Balachandran, P K (27 December 2016). "Former Sri Lankan PM Wickremanayake passes away". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 29 December 2016.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g "Ratnasiri new Prime Minister". Daily News. Retrieved 28 December 2016.
  7. ^ a b Rajapaksa, Mahinda (1 February 2006). "Leaders". Hindustan Times. Archived from the original on 29 December 2016. Retrieved 29 December 2016.
  8. ^ "Funeral of former Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake with state patronage on Saturday". Independent Television Network (ITN) News. 27 December 2016.
  9. ^ Salter, Mark (2015). To End a Civil War: Norway's Peace Engagement in Sri Lanka. London: C. Hurst & Co. ISBN 978-1-84904-574-2.
  10. ^ a b c "Voting trends at Sri Lanka's elections". The Nation. Sri Lanka. 28 July 2015.
  11. ^ "Funeral of former Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake with state patronage on Saturday". ITN News. 27 December 2016.
  12. ^ a b "Wickremanayake appointed new Lankan PM". TamilNet. 21 November 2005. The source claims that Wickremanayake served his premiership from November 1999 to February 2001.
  13. ^ Data India, Issues 1-26. Press Institute of India. 2004. p. A-6.
  14. ^ a b "Ratnasiri Wickremanayake, veteran Sri Lankan politician, passes away". The Hindu. 27 December 2016.
  15. ^ Summary of World Broadcasts: Asia, Pacific, Issues 3960-3971. British Broadcasting Corporation. 2000.
  16. ^ "Sri Lankans urged to multiply for war". BBC News. 19 June 2001.
  17. ^ Unnithan-Kumar, Maya (28 December 2016). Reproductive Agency, Medicine and the State: Cultural Transformations in Childbearing. Berghahn Books. ISBN 9781845450441.
  18. ^ Pape, Robert A.; Feldman, James K. (2010). Cutting the Fuse: The Explosion of Global Suicide Terrorism and How to Stop It. University of Chicago Press. p. 301. ISBN 978-0-226-64565-0.
  19. ^ Kumar, Satish, ed. (2010). India's National Security: Annual Review 2010. Routledge. ISBN 9781136197000.
  20. ^ "President, other take to Twitter to condole Ratnasiri Wickremanayake 's demise". Sunday Times. 28 December 2016.
  21. ^ "Former Prime Minister of Sri Lanka Ratnasiri Wickremanayake passes away". Colombo Page. 27 December 2016.
  22. ^ "Funeral of former Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake with full state honors". Colombo Page. 27 December 2016.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by Prime Minister of Sri Lanka
Succeeded by
Preceded by Prime Minister of Sri Lanka
Succeeded by