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Ratnasiri Wickremanayake 

Assumed office 
19 November 2005
President Mahinda Rajapaksa
Preceded by Dr Mahinda Rajapaksa
In office
10 August 2000 – 09 December 2001
President Chandrika Kumaratunga
Preceded by Sirimavo Bandaranaike
Succeeded by Ranil Wickremesinghe

Born 5 May 1933 (1933-05-05) (age 76)
Political party SLFP
Spouse(s) Kusum Wickremanayake
Religion Buddhist

Ratnasiri Wickremanayake MP (born on May 5, 1933) is the 14th Prime Minister of Sri Lanka and a veteran politician National List member of the Parliament of Sri Lanka. He was sworn in as Prime Minister of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka by the President Mahinda Rajapakse on November 21, 2005. Speaking to journalists after being sworn in, Prime Minister Wickremanayake acknowledged the contribution made by the people to elect Rajapakse as the President. "But, they should not stop there. They should continue with their responsibility to push the Government and the President to do what country needs," he added [1].

Unlike in India, the Sri Lankan cabinet is headed by the Executive President, who is both the Head of State and Government and the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. The role of the Prime Minister is largely nominal, as the President is the head of the executive and determines portfolio allocation and the size of the cabinet.

Wickremanayake is a former Prime Minister (August 2000-December 2001) who succeeded the late Sirimavo Bandaranaike after she resigned from the position at the age of 84. He is a senior vice-president of the ruling Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP).

Wickremanayake is known to toe a Sinhala-hardline position. The new Prime Minister is also one who is seen as holding hawkish views on the attacks of the decades-long Internationally banned Terrorist group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

During Presidencies of former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, he held the Public Administration, Home Affairs and Plantation Industries portfolios. The decision to appoint Ratnasiri Wickremanayake as the Prime Minister appears to be taken at the last-minute, as his name did not figure in political circles until the night of November 21, 2005.

Wickremanayake was educated in Millewa Primary School, Dharmapala Vidyalaya, Pannipitiya, Hartley College, Point Pedro and Ananda College, Colombo and later as a student joined Lincoln's Inn to become a Barrister of Law, but ultimately chose to enter politics rather than appear for the exam. During his time in UK he was elected president of the Ceylon Students' Association in the United Kingdom in 1955. Wickremanayake returned to Sri Lanka following the demise of his elder brother Munidasa who was in active politics representing the Western Province parliamentary seat of Horana before he could sit for the final barrister's exam. On his return to Sri Lanka, he was elected to the legislature in 1960, from Horana for the Lanka Sama Samaja Party (then a part of the Mahajana Eksath Peramuna alliance). Wickremanayake joined the SLFP in 1962. In 1965, he was re-elected to the legislature for Horana from the SLFP.

Wickremanayake received his first ministerial appointment in 1970, when he was appointed Deputy Minister for Justice in the United Front government under Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike. In 1975, Wickremanayake was appointed Minister of Plantation Industries and the next year was also Minister of Justice. Like many other party stalwarts, Wickremanayake also lost his Parliamentary seat in the landslide defeat of the SLFP in 1977. He became General Secretary of the SLFP in 1978.

He rose to higher office in the government of President Chandrika Kumaratunga, becoming Minister of Public Administration, Home Affairs and Plantation Industries in 1994, and also being named the leader of the SLFP parliamentary party. He became Prime Minister in 2000 after the resignation of Sirimavo Bandaranaike, and briefly headed a minority SLFP government supported by the JVP for a year. His time as Prime Minister ended in October 2001 when the legislature after it became apparent that his government was about to lose a no-confidence motion.

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. He held both posts until being made Prime Minister in 2005.

Wickremanayake is seen by many as taking a harder stance on the Sri Lankan Civil War. During his previous term as Prime Minister, he refused to consider talks with the LTTE Terrorist group, and renounced terrorism. He has called for Sri Lanka's family planning policies to be modified, to encourage people to have more children and thereby produce more recruits for the Sri Lankan Army[1]. As an opposition politician, he also spoke against the present ceasefire arrangements at the time they were put in place.


War Crime Charges

Prim minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake is part of the government, which fought the Eelam war IV against LTTE group during 2008 and 2009. Clouds of War Crime charges were requested over allegations of killing 20,000 Tamils during the war [2] These charges were brought first by United Nations Human Rights Council in May 2009. This issue politicise in Rights council because countries like China, India were involved in the war. And the charges were defeated by voting. [3] Charges are yet to be proved. Also 300,000 people in the concentration camps since the war is over in May 2009 are also a huge Human Right violation accused [4] [5] by bodies around the world such as Amnesty International[6], Human Rights watch (NY) etc. Prime Minister Wickramanayake could not do much against these issues. But oftentimes he was a strong supporter of war and part of the government agenda [7].

His visit to Japan in Sep 2009 spark criticism as he was supported human smuggling along with President Mahinda Rajapaksa's Brother Chamal Rajapaksa. Government of Sri Lanka or Wickremanayake himself did not respond to this alligations. [8]

Even after the war is over, government's denial of thinking of a solution to the 61 years conflict in Sri Lanka, raises serious concern among international community [9]

See also


External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Mahinda Rajapaksa
Prime Minister of Sri Lanka
Preceded by
Sirimavo Bandaranaike
Prime Minister of Sri Lanka
2000 – 2001
Succeeded by
Ranil Wickremesinghe


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