President of Sri Lanka: Wikis

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President of Sri Lanka
Coat of arms of Sri Lanka.svg
Presidential Standard
Incumbent
Mahinda Rajapaksa

since November 19, 2005
Residence President's House
Term length Six years, renewable once
Inaugural holder William Gopallawa
22 May, 1972
Formation May 22, 1972
Website president.gov.lk
Sri Lanka
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 the series:
Politics and government of
Sri Lanka



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The President of Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is the elected head of state and the head of government. The President is a dominant political figure in Sri Lanka. The office was created in 1978 but has grown so powerful there have been calls to restrict or even eliminate its power. The current President is Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Contents

Sri Lanka's executive presidency

At independence, executive power in Ceylon resided with the monarch of Ceylon, represented by the Governor-General, which was exercised on the advice of the Prime Minister. The 1972 constitution replaced the monarch with a president, but that remained a mostly ceremonial position.

The 1978 constitution moved from a Westminster-based political system into one modeled on France. As in France, a new, directly elected President with a longer term and independence from Parliament was created. The President is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, head of the Cabinet, appoints the prime minister, and could dissolve parliament (after one year has passed since the convening of parliament after a parliamentary election)

In practice, the Sri Lankan presidency was much more powerful than the President of France. French presidents traditionally deal only with defense and foreign policy, leaving domestic affairs to the Prime Minister. Sri Lankan presidents are involved with every aspect of the government and are able to hold ministries, or can bypass the cabinet posts by delegating decisions to the Presidential Secretariat.

Presidents have little constraints on their power and they cannot be taken to court. However they can be impeached by a two-thirds majority in Parliament. They can place the country in a state of emergency, under which they can override any law passed by Parliament and promulgate any regulation without needing legislative approval. However, to prolong the state of emergency for more than a month parliamentary approval is needed.

At the opening of Parliament, the President delivers an address similar to a Speech from the Throne, outlining government policy.

The President has the power to appoint Attorneys-at-Laws to the position of President's Counsel and military personal to the post of Aide de Camp to the President.

In the 1994 election, Chandrika Kumaratunga of the People's Alliance promised to be the last Executive President, bringing in constitutional reforms to return to Westminster-style government. This did not happen during her time in office. While some political parties have expressed their concerns on the executive presidency the abolishment of it is unlikely within the current Sri Lankan political framework.

List of presidents

Other information

The Old Parliament Building the near the Galle Face Green, now the Presidential Secretariat

The official residence of the president is the President's House (formally the Queen's House as the residences of the Governor General) in Colombo. However the president's office is the Presidential Secretariat which is at the former Parliament building in Colombo, where many formal functions takes place. Other presidential residences include:

In recent years from time to time Prime Minister's House, commonly referred to as Temple Tree's, which has been the official residence of the Prime Minister since 1948, has been used by presidents.

Last election

e • d  Summary of the 17 November 2005 Sri Lanka presidential election results
Candidate Party Votes %
Mahinda Rajapakse United People's Freedom Alliance 4,887,152 50.29
Ranil Wickremesinghe United National Party 4,706,366 48.43
Siritunga Jayasuriya United Socialist Party 35,425 0.36
Ashoka Suraweera Jathika Sangwardhena Peramuna 31,238 0.32
Victor Hettigoda Eksath Lanka Podujana Pakshaya 14,458 0.15
Chamil Jayaneththi New Left Front 9,296 0.10
Aruna de Soyza Ruhunu Janatha Party 7,685 0.08
Wimal Geeganage Sri Lanka National Front 6,639 0.07
Anura de Silva United Lalith Front 6,357 0.07
Ajith Arachchige Democratic Unity Alliance 5,082 0.05
Wije Dias Socialist Equality Party 3,500 0.04
Nelson Perera Sri Lanka Progressive Front 2,525 0.03
H. Dharmadwaja United National Alternative Front 1,316 0.01
Total 9,717,039  
Registered Voters 13,327,160
Total Votes cast 9,826,778
Invalid Votes 109,739
Valid Votes cast 9,717,039

See also

External links

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