Government of Sri Lanka

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Coat of arms of Sri Lanka, showing a lion holding a sword in its right forepaw surrounded by a ring made from blue lotus petals which is placed on top of a grain vase sprouting rice grains to encircle it. A Dharmacakra is on the top while a sun and moon are at the bottom on each side of the vase.
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Sri Lanka

The government of Sri Lanka is a semi-presidential system determined by the Sri Lankan Constitution.


The Constitution of Sri Lanka has been the constitution of the island nation of Sri Lanka since its original promulgation by the National State Assembly on 7 September 1978. It is Sri Lanka's second republican constitution, and its third constitution since the country's independence (as Ceylon) in 1948. As of April 2015 it has been formally amended 19 times.

Executive branch[edit]

The President, directly elected for a six-year term, is head of state, head of government, and commander in chief of the armed forces. The election occurs under the Sri Lankan form of the contingent vote. Responsible to Parliament for the exercise of duties under the constitution and laws, the president may be removed from office by a two-thirds vote of Parliament with the concurrence of the Supreme Court.

The President appoints and heads a cabinet of ministers responsible to Parliament. The President's deputy is the prime minister, who leads the ruling party in Parliament. A parliamentary no-confidence vote requires dissolution of the cabinet and the appointment of a new one by the President.

e • d Summary of the 2015 Sri Lankan presidential election[1]
Candidate Party Votes  %
  Maithripala Sirisena New Democratic Front 6,217,162 51.28%
  Mahinda Rajapaksa United People's Freedom Alliance 5,768,090 47.58%
Ratnayake Arachchige Sirisena Patriotic National Front 18,174 0.15%
Namal Ajith Rajapaksa Our National Front 15,726 0.13%
Maulawi Ibrahim Mohanmed Mishlar United Peace Front 14,379 0.12%
A. S. P. Liyanage Sri Lanka Labour Party 14,351 0.12%
Ruwanthileke Peduru United Lanka People's Party 12,436 0.10%
  Aithurus M. Illias Independent 10,618 0.09%
  Duminda Nagamuwa Frontline Socialist Party 9,941 0.08%
  Siritunga Jayasuriya United Socialist Party 8,840 0.07%
Sarath Manamendra New Sinhala Heritage 6,875 0.06%
  Pani Wijesiriwardene Socialist Equality Party 4,277 0.04%
  Anurudha Polgampola Independent 4,260 0.04%
  Sundaram Mahendran Nava Sama Samaja Party 4,047 0.03%
Muthu Bandara Theminimulla All Are Citizens, All Are Kings Organisation 3,846 0.03%
Battaramulle Seelarathana Jana Setha Peramuna 3,750 0.03%
Prasanna Priyankara Democratic National Movement 2,793 0.02%
Jayantha Kulathunga United Lanka Great Council 2,061 0.02%
Wimal Geeganage Sri Lanka National Front 1,826 0.02%
Valid votes 12,123,452 100.00%
Rejected votes 140,925
Total polled 12,264,377
Registered electors 15,044,490
Turnout 81.52%

Legislative branch[edit]

The Parliament has 225 members, elected for a six year term, 196 members elected in multi-seat constituencies and 29 by proportional representation. The President may summon, suspend, or end a legislative session and dissolve Parliament any time after it has served for one year. Parliament reserves the power to make all laws.

The primary modification is that the party that receives the largest number of valid votes in each constituency gains a unique "bonus seat" (see Hickman, 1999). Since its independence in 1948, Sri Lanka has remained a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.

e • d Summary of the 2015 Sri Lankan parliamentary election[2][3]
Alliances and parties Votes % Seats
District National Total
  United National Front for Good Governance[a] 5,098,916 45.66% 93 13 106
  United People's Freedom Alliance 4,732,664 42.38% 83 12 95
  Tamil National Alliance[g] 515,963 4.62% 14 2 16
  Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna 543,944 4.87% 4 2 6
  Sri Lanka Muslim Congress[c] 44,193 0.40% 1 0 1
  Eelam People's Democratic Party 33,481 0.30% 1 0 1
  Independents 42,828 0.38% 0 0 0
  All Ceylon Makkal Congress[b] 33,102 0.30% 0 0 0
  Democratic Party 28,587 0.26% 0 0 0
Buddhist People's Front 20,377 0.18% 0 0 0
  Tamil National People's Front[h] 18,644 0.17% 0 0 0
  Ceylon Workers' Congress[d] 17,107 0.15% 0 0 0
  Frontline Socialist Party 7,349 0.07% 0 0 0
United People's Party 5,353 0.05% 0 0 0
Others 24,467 0.22% 0 0 0
Valid Votes 11,166,975 100.00% 196 29 225
Rejected Votes 517,123
Total Polled 11,684,098
Registered Electors 15,044,490
Turnout 77.66%

Judicial Branch[edit]

The judiciary is the system of courts that interprets and applies the law in the country. It is set out in the constitution, which defines courts as independent institutions within the traditional framework of checks and balances. The Sri Lankan courts are presided over by professional judges, judges of the Supreme Court are appointed by the President with the nomination of the Parliamentary Council, others by the Judicial Service Commission.[4]

Sri Lankan Law[edit]

Main article: Law of Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has a legal system which is an amalgam of English common law, Roman-Dutch civil law and Customary Law.


  1. ^ The UNFGG contested under the name and symbol of UNP.
  2. ^ a b The ACMC contested separately in one district (Ampara) and with the UNFGG in other districts.
  3. ^ a b The SLMC contested separately in two districts (Batticaloa and Vanni) and with the UNFGG in other districts.
  4. ^ a b The CWC contested separately in three districts (Badulla, Kandy and Kegalle) and with the UPFA in other districts.
  5. ^ The CF contested separately in two districts (Nuwara Eliya and Vanni) and with the UPFA in other districts.
  6. ^ The LP contested separately in four districts (Colombo, Galle, Kurunegala and Matara) and with the UPFA in other districts.
  7. ^ The TNA contested under the name and symbol of ITAK.
  8. ^ The TNPF contested under the name and symbol of ACTC.


External links[edit]

Executive Branch
Legislative Branch