Ranil Wickremesinghe

The Honourable
Ranil Wickremesinghe
රනිල් වික්‍රමසිංහ
ரணில் விக்ரமசிங்க
Prime Minister of Sri Lanka
Assumed office
9 January 2015
President Maithripala Sirisena
Preceded by D. M. Jayaratne
In office
9 December 2001  6 April 2004
President Chandrika Kumaratunga
Preceded by Ratnasiri Wickremanayake
Succeeded by Mahinda Rajapaksa
In office
7 May 1993  18 August 1994
President D.B. Wijetunga
Preceded by D.B. Wijetunga
Succeeded by Chandrika Kumaratunga
Leader of the Opposition
In office
22 April 2004  9 January 2015
President Chandrika Kumaratunga
Mahinda Rajapaksa
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa
Ratnasiri Wickremanayake
D. M. Jayaratne
Preceded by Mahinda Rajapaksa
Succeeded by Nimal Siripala de Silva
In office
28 October 1994  10 October 2001
President Chandrika Kumaratunga
Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike
Ratnasiri Wickremanayake
Preceded by Gamini Dissanayake
Succeeded by Ratnasiri Wickremanayake
Member of the Sri Lankan Parliament
for Colombo District
Assumed office
Member of the Sri Lankan Parliament
for Gampaha District
In office
Member of the Sri Lankan Parliament
for Biyagama
In office
21 July 1977  15 February 1989
Preceded by Constituency created
Succeeded by Constituency abolished
Minister of Policy Planning and Economic Development
Assumed office
12 January 2015
President Maithripala Sirisena
Prime Minister Himself
Preceded by Basil Rajapaksa
Minister of Industries, Science & Technology
In office
1989  May 1993
President Ranasinghe Premadasa
Prime Minister D.B. Wijetunga
Minister of Education
In office
14 February 1980  1989
President J. R. Jayewardene
Prime Minister Ranasinghe Premadasa
Minister of Youth Affairs & Employment
In office
5 October 1977  1980
President J. R. Jayewardene
Prime Minister Ranasinghe Premadasa
Leader of the United National Party
Assumed office
Deputy Sajith Premadasa
Karu Jayasuriya
Preceded by D.B. Wijetunga
Personal details
Born Ranil Wickramasinghe
(1949-03-24) 24 March 1949
Dominion of Ceylon
(now Sri Lanka)
Nationality Sri Lankan
Political party United National Party
Spouse(s) Dr Maitree Wickremasinghe
Parents Esmond Wickremesinghe
Nalini Wickremesinghe
Residence Temple Trees
Alma mater Royal College, Colombo
University of Colombo
Occupation Politician
Profession Lawyer
Religion Theravada Buddhism
Ethnicity Sinhalese
Website Official website

Ranil Wickremesinghe, MP (Sinhalese: රනිල් වික්‍රමසිංහ,Tamil: ரணில் விக்ரமசிங்க; born 24 March 1949) is a Sri Lankan politician who has served as the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka since 9 January 2015, as Leader of the United National Party since 1994 and the Member of Parliament for Colombo District since 1977. He is also the leader of the United National Front, having been appointed head of the alliance in October 2009.[1]

Wickremesinghe also previously served as Prime Minister from 7 May 1993 to 19 August 1994 and 9 December 2001 to 6 April 2004. He was appointed party leader in November 1994 following the assassination of Gamini Dissanayake during the campaign for the 1994 presidential election.[2] On 8 January 2015, Wickremesinghe was appointed as Prime Minister by President Maithripala Sirisena, who had defeated President Mahinda Rajapaksa in the 2015 presidential election.[3]

Wickremesinghe's coalition alliance, the United National Front for Good Governance, won the 2015 parliamentary election with 106 seats. Although it fell short of an outright majority, Wickremesinghe was re-elected as Prime Minister with over 35 Sri Lanka Freedom Party members joining his cabinet.[4][5]


Ranil Wickremasinghe is the second son of Esmond and Nalini Wickremasinghe. Esmond Wickremasinghe was a press baron, an ex-Samasamajist[6] and supremo of the Lake House group of newspapers.[7] His paternal uncle Lakshman Wickremasinghe was a Bishop of the Church of Sri Lanka.[8] His maternal line consisted of newspaper barons and landowners, the Wijewardenas, who were Sinhala Buddhists.


Wickremesinghe was educated at Royal College, Colombo where he was a classmate and friend of Anura Bandaranaike, son of then Prime Minister Solomon Bandaranaike and Dinesh Gunawardena, son of socialist leader Philip Gunawardena. Wickremasinghe entered the Faculty of Law at the University of Ceylon, Colombo campus (now University of Colombo). After graduation he completed the law exams at the Sri Lanka Law College and took oaths as an advocate in 1972.[9]

Early political career

Wickremasinghe joined the United National Party (UNP) and progressed through its ranks. He was appointed as the chief organizer of the Kelaniya Electorate in the mid-1970s but was later appointed as the chief organizer of the Biyagama Electorate, which he won in the 1977 parliamentary elections.

Youngest cabinet minister

He was appointed Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs in the new government of J. R. Jayewardene, and was soon promoted to the post of Minister of Youth Affairs and Employment, which made him the youngest cabinet minister of Sri Lanka.[8] During his term as deputy minister, he initiated the Sri Lanka National Guard and the National Youth Services Council (NYSCO), which provides vocational and career training to school leavers. Wickremesinghe was later made the Minister of Education.[10]

Prime Minister (1993–1994)

Under the Presidency of Ranasinghe Premadasa, Wickremasinghe was appointed as the Minister of Industry, under which he initiated industrial reforms and established the Biyagama Special Economic Zone. Wickremesinghe had competition from his senior colleagues in the UNP, Lalith Athulathmudali and Gamini Dissanayake, who had been rivals of President Premadasa. He was appointed the Leader of the House in 1989. On 7 May 1993, Wickremesinghe was sworn in as Prime Minister after President Ranasinghe Premadasa was assassinated by the Tamil Tigers and Prime Minister D. B. Wijetunga was appointed acting president.

During his term he was credited for pushing the country through an impressive economic transformation and was generally backed by the business community.[11]

Opposition (1994–2001)

In the 1994 parliamentary elections, the UNP lost to Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga's People's Alliance (PA), and Kumaratunga was appointed Prime Minister of the country. Wickremasinghe was defeated in the race for Opposition Leader by two votes by fellow UNP member Gamini Dissanayake, who had re-joined the party. This gave Gamini Dissanayake the default leadership of the party and made him the presidential nominee of the UNP. The UNP was progressing well under Gamini Dissanayake's leadership, when he too was assassinated by the Tamil Tigers. Gamini Dissanayake's widow, Srima replaced him as the candidate of the UNP in the 1994 election. Securing just 35% of the vote, she lost to Chandrika Kumaratunga in all electorates except Mahiyangana. Afterwards, Wickremesinghe was appointed as the opposition leader as well as the UNP leader.

Wickremasinghe was seen as a co-operative opposition leader who gave the government a chance to carry out its agenda in its early days.[11]

In the 1999 election, Wickremesinghe was nominated as UNP's Presidential candidate. After a tense election campaign in the wake of the violent North Western Provincial Council election, the Tamil Tigers blasted a suicide bomb in an election campaign rally, in which President Kumaratunga lost her right eye. In the election held two days later 21 December 1999 amidst a wave of sympathy, Kumaratunga received 51% of the popular vote to be re-elected as Executive President.[11] The gap between Wickremesinghe and Kumaratunga was approximately 700,000 votes (6% of the valid votes). Kumaratunga was sworn in for her second term as President on 22 December 1999.

After the loss of the 1999 presidential elections, Wickremasinghe unsuccessfully led his party in the 2000 parliamentary elections, again losing out to the PA.

Prime Minister (2001–2004)

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe of Sri Lanka meets with Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz in The Pentagon on 3 November 2003. The leaders are meeting to discuss defense issues of mutual interest.

In the parliamentary general election 2001 UNF, led by Ranil Wickremesinghe, won 109 seats and PA was able to obtain only 77 seats.[12] Consequently, he was able to form a new UNF government and sworn as the 17th Prime Minister of Sri Lanka on 9 December 2001.[13]

However Chandrika Kumaratunga still remained the President of the country. This led to a confusing situation where the President and the Prime Minister were from two opposite parties.[14] Although, according to the constitution, both head of state and head of government was the President, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was able to appoint his own cabinet[15][16] and he had the actual control over the government. President Chandrika Kumaratunga also chaired cabinet meetings as de facto head, but her influence over decision making was strictly limited.

He also requested international community to assist in development during the ceacefire which led to the Tokyo Donor Conference on Reconstruction and Development of Sri Lanka was held in June 2003 in which Sri Lanka received more than 4.5 billion dollars in reconstruction and development aid.[17]

During this time he proposed the creation of the "Western Region Megapolis" project .Planned with the assistance of architects and town planners of a Singaporean firm CESMA, it proposed to create a large city in the western province that can rival major cities in the world. However the project did not proceed after the fall of his government.[18]

Foreign policy

Ranil Wickremesinghe's foreign policy during his tenant as the Prime Minister pusued closer relations with the west. He expected their economical backing to overcome the economical crisis. He also largely took assistance, especially from Norway, to resolve the ongoing Ethnic Problem in Sri Lanka.[19]

On July 2002 he was able to meet George W. Bush, the President of the United States during that period. It was the first time after 18 years a Sri Lankan leader met the US leader in the White House.[20][21] This visit was primarily focused on building new relationships based on economical links between United States and Sri Lanka. Furthermore, US government pledged to support his peace efforts with LTTE. He also met the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Tony Blair,[22] the Prime Minister of Japan Junichiro Koizumi[23] and the Prime Minister of India Atal Bihari Vajpayee.[24] Many of these visits were focused on the issues regarding resolving the Ethnic Problem in Sri Lanka.

Peace process

Ranil Wickremesinghe believed a political solution based on a United Sri Lanka was the permanent solution to the Ethnic Problem in Sri Lanka. He also believed that such a solution could be reached through a peaceful negotiation process with LTTE.

Ceasefire Agreement (CFA)

Three months after the election Ranil Wickremesinghe's government entered into a ceasefire agreement (CFA) with LTTE. The agreement was signed on 22 February 2002 at different locations in the war zone by both parties and Norwegian Ambassador to Sri Lanka Jon Westborg acted as the facilitator. It was said that the main objective of this agreement was to find a negotiated solution to the ongoing ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka.[25] Both parties agreed to halt all offensive military operations. An international monitoring mission called Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) was formed to enquire into any instance of violation of the terms and conditions of this agreement.

In the aftermath of signing CFA the island was deemed as a safe place once again, after decades of war. Specially tourism industry experienced a significant escalation where the number of tourists arrived to the country was suddenly increased.[26] The A9 Highway was reopened up to Kilinochchi on 15 February 2002 after 18 years. Many checkpoints and road blocks were removed in government controlled areas.

Peace talks

After signing CFA Ranil Wickremesinghe held a few rounds of peace talks with LTTE between 2002 and 2003. Prof. G. L. Peiris, minister Milinda Moragoda and minister Rauff Hakeem led the government delegation and LTTE theoretician Anton Balasingham, LTTE political wing leader S.P. Thamilselvan and military leader Karuna Amman led the LTTE faction during the peace talks. The Royal Norwegian government acted as the chief facilitator during the peace talks. There were six rounds of peace talks which were held at different locations around the world:

  1. 16–18 September 2002, Bangkok[27]
  2. 31 October-3 November 2002, Bangkok[28]
  3. 2–5 December 2002, Oslo[29]
  4. 6–9 January 2003, Bangkok[30]
  5. 7–8 February 2003, Berlin[31]
  6. 18–21 March 2003, Tokyo[32]

After the Oslo round of peace talks in December 2003, a concluding statement was declared by the Norwegian facilitators which later became known as Oslo Declaration.[33] In this statement it was stated that "both parties have decided to explore a political solution founded on internal self-determination based on a federal structure within a united Sri Lanka". This was considered as one of the most significant incidents in the history of finding a political solution to the Ethnic Problem in Sri Lanka.

After the 6th round of peace talks in March 2003 LTTE abruptly withdrew from the peace talks.[34] However, in October 2003 LTTE again showed some intentions of entering into the peace process, calling for an Interim Self Governing Authority (ISGA). The proposal was handed over to the government through Norwegian Ambassador Hans Brattskar.[35][36][37]

Analysts saw Wickremesinghe was fanning the internecine feuds among the Tigers and systematically weakening them and a foreign policy intended to tighten the global dragnet against the LTTE. Agreements were signed with the US which allowed sri Lanka get assistance in terms of military training, military technology, intelligence, special training in counter-terrorism and direct monetary assistance for military development.[38] During the ceasefire period United States Pacific Command assessment team conducted a study from Sept 12-2002 to Oct 24, 2002 which made several recommendations to strengthen the capabilities of the Sri Lanka Army, Sri Lanka Navy and Sri Lanka Air Force in case of the peace process failing. After studying the weakness of the military the study recommended the use of cluster bombs (Which weren't banned until 2010 when Cluster Munitions Convention came into effect)to destroy unarmoured area targets and recommended arming Kafirs and Mi-24 gunships with guided weapons in case of fighting close to enemy forces.[39][40] The US also donated the SLNS Samudura during this time[38]

Criticism on peace process

The opposition and the nationalistic movements of the country strongly opposed CFA and the overall peace process of Ranil Wickremesinghe's regime.[41] They continuously criticized and protested against CFA claiming it as a threat to the sovereignty of the country which ultimately leads the way to a separate state for LTTE, so called Ealam. It was later claimed by Karuna Amman who defected from the LTTE during Ranil Wickremesinghe's regime that the LTTE dragged the peace talks to smuggle weapons and ammunition including aircraft.[42]

LTTE continuously violated CFA in great many occasions. In August 2007 SLMM agreed that LTTE had violated CFA in total 3830 occasions while government of Sri Lanka had violated CFA in only 351 occasions.[43] Several Sri Lankan Army intelligence operatives were allegedly killed by LTTE during this period.[44]

Nationalistic movements of the country also widely criticized the proposal for an Interim Self Governing Authority by LTTE arguing that would divide the country. They claimed it had all the pre-requirements for a separate state for LTTE. Ultimately CFA and its consequences became the main topic of debate during Presidential Election. It was evident from the results of the election that the Sinhalese majority of the country disapproved of CFA.

End of the Regime

Few days after LTTE proposed of the Interim Self Governing Authority (ISGA), President Chandrika Kumaratunga sacked three ministers of the cabinet and took over the ministries using her constitutional powers ending the uneasy coalition between her and the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe while he was out of the country.[45] Addressing the nation she claimed that this decision was taken in the interest of national security.[46]

Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna also decided to ally with PA to defeat the Ranil Wickremesinghe's government which they claimed as a threat to the sovereignty of the country. Consequently, President Chandrika Kumaratunga dissolved the parliament on 7 February 2004 [47] which effectively ended Ranil Wickremesinghe's regime.

Opposition (2004–2015)

In the 2004 Parliamentary Elections held on 2 April Ranil Wickremesinghe's UNF lost governmental office. Despite the expectation of a full six-year term, and planned projects cut short by the defeat, the UNP was optimistic that it could regain power in a future election. Within 14 months of UPFA's victory, the radical JVP wing's (composed of over 30 members) parting of ways with the government, left the UPFA's parliamentary composition well short of the required majority. He remained in the post of the Opposition Leader until 2015, when Maithripala Sirisena who sworn in as the President, appointed him as the Prime Minister.

Presidential election, 2005

In December 2004, Wickremesinghe was chosen by the United National Party as its Presidential candidate for Presidential Elections due in late 2005. The Supreme Court decided in August 2005 that the elections should be held that year despite the President's argument that her term would end in 2006. Mahinda Rajapaksa, then Prime Minister, was nominated as the Presidential candidate of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party.

In the Presidential Election held on 17 November 2005, Wickremesinghe was defeated narrowly by Mahinda Rajapaksa, who gained 50.29% of the vote to Wickremesinghe's 48.43%. A large number of the minority Tamil population in the Northern and Eastern parts of the country, who were largely expected to back Wickremesinghe were prevented from voting by the extremist LTTE, which had enforced a boycott of the polls.

Provincial elections, 2008–2009

With the success in defeating LTTE in war, government held a series of provincial elections in 2008 and 2009 for 8 provincial councils (Eastern, North Central, Sabaragamuwa, North Western, Central, Western, Uva and Southern). In all occasions UNP was soundly defeated by a large margin by UPFA. Of all the elections UNP obtained only 30% of the total polled and UPFA was able to gain 59% of the total polled. The magin was 2,527,783[48] compared to 180,786 in Presidential Election in 2005.[49]

Presidential election, 2010

Ranil Wickremesinghe, signed an Alliance Agreement with twelve other opposition parties in November 2009 and he announced that, a Common Candidate would be fielded for the Presidential Election which would be held in 2010. Later he announced that the former Army Commander, Sarath Fonseka has been selected as the common candidate and pledged to support him.

Presidential election, 2015

UNP along several other parties, and civil organizations signed to an Understanding Agreement and decided to field the then Secretary General of Sri Lanka Freedom Party, Maithripala Sirisena as the Common Candidate for the Presidential Election and the Common Candidate pledged to appoint Ranil Wickeremesinghe, as the Prime Minister if he would win the election. In the elections held on 8 January 2015, Common Candidate Maithripala Sirisena was selected as the 6th President of Sri Lanka and on 9 January 2015 when he sworn in, he appointed Ranil Wickremesinghe as the Prime Minister of the Sri Lankan Parliament.

Prime Minister (2015 – present)

Following the 2015 Presidential Election's United National Party-led common candidate Maithripala Sirisena having won 51.28% of votes and under Memorandum of Understanding agreement, Wickremesinghe was appointed as Prime Minister for the 100-day program plan and this is his third term as Prime Minister of Sri Lanka.[50]

Wickremesinghe vowed to regain majority in the Parliament and making it as the United National Party's Government, at the same time he also promised to secure the futures of younger generations and instantly confirmed that the Government will launch 1 million jobs for the youth as well advancement for the education and health sectors will maintain as promised.[51]

He also took steps to develop the former war-zones by touring the affected areas and met civil activists to discuss the issues faced by the Jaffna civilians and schools and to expedite investigations of missing persons.He also took steps to uplift Northern Province communities and to improve their standard of living.[52][53][54]

UNP/UNFGG-led by Wickremesinghe had won the General Parliamentary Elections held on 17 August 2015, making himself the Prime Minister for his 4th term, with 106 seats in 225-member Parliament of Sri Lanka forming the government (though short of 7 seats to secure the simple majority of the Parliament) defeating the political rivalry UPFA de facto leader and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his bid to return as Prime Minister after his defeat as President.[55] Wickremesinghe also scored the highest preferential votes in the election with 500,556 votes, beating his common antagonist Rajapaksa by a considerable margin (with Rajapaksa garnering 423,529 preferential votes) whilst setting a new record as the candidate with the highest number of preferential votes in Sri Lankas' elections history.[56]

He also restarted the Megapolis plan which he started in when he was PM in 2001-2004. Surbana was consulted to revise the master plan to suit newer needs.The Ministry of Megapolis and Western development was created for project and the project which expects to convert the currently unplanned Western Province into a major megapolis by 2030 with an estimated population of 8.4 million and expects to solve the issues concerning traffic congestion, waste management and slum dwellers in urban areas .[57] Wickremesinghe also showed interest in Surbana creating a similar plan for Trincomalee in the Eastern province.[58][59]

He proposed major economic reforms and proposed a knowledge based social market economy which will be built on social justice principles that will also focus on the availability of global opportunities for education and strengthening of the health system to face health concerns of the 21st century.He also planned on reducing high income disparity levels in the domestic economy and increasing exports which had fallen 30% in the previous years.[60]

An action plan was launched which propose reforming SOEs by putting them under a State Holding Corporation similar to Temasek Holdings of Singapore, creating a Public Wealth Trust, Enter into trade agreements with India and China to increase market access and regaining GSP+ to regain EU markets, restructure Key Investment Promotion Agencies, Tourism Development and attracting high spending tourists as well as reviving the rural economy establishing 2,500 state rural development centers via grouping of many villages under one development center that will have access to fully equipped rural economic market units and creating large scale agricultural enterprises where farmers can be members to initiate competitive export oriented agricultural market and a review process. Special economic zones in identified areas of the country and a special financial and business hub in Colombo were also proposed.[60]

He also organized the Sri Lanka Economic forum 2016 with the pressance of international investor and Founder Chairman of Open Society George Soros and Nobel Laureate Economist Joseph Stieglitz and many other experts such as Ricardo Hausmann. The forum was seen as a boost to the Sri Lankan economy and during the forum Soros decided to invest in Sri Lanka the initital investments were expected to be around $300 Million.[61][62][63]

Foreign policy

His foreign policy was aimed at re-balancing relations with India and the West that were strained during the previous regime and keeping good relations with China as well. He also chose to restart discussions to solve the Indo-Sri Lanka fishing dispute but strongly defended the Sri Lankan navy's right to shoot Indian fishermen that fish in Sri Lankan waters, stating:

If someone tries to break into my house, I can shoot. If he gets killed... Law allows me to do that.
Ranil Wickremesinghe, interview to Thanthi TV

His foreign policy was seen as moving away from the Rajapaksa government's isolationist policies, which distanced Sri Lanka from the western world. His policies were seen to attract investments and financial aid.[64]

He also worked to develop relations with Japan and Singapore, choosing them as his second and third foreign state visits after being elected as Prime Minister. During his visit to Japan, he promised to support Japan's bid to secure a seat on the United Nations Security Council and entered to a "comprehensive partnership" with Japan covering political, economic and security issues.[65] .[66] During his visit to Singapore, in an interview with The Straits Times he invited Singaporean submarines and frigates to visit Sri Lanka.[67]

Corruption elimination

During the Rajapaksa regime which oversaw the rise of lawlessness and abuse of state power by Rajapaksa's government ministers and officers after the defeat of the regime, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe decided to set up high-powered responding Police Division so-called "Financial Crimes Investigation Division".[68] This led to arrest Basil Rajapaksa the younger brother of Mahinda Rajapaksa and his political henchmen who were involved in large-scale corruption also were arrested within months after forming the committee.[69][70] However several family members and friends of Rajapaksa were questioned by the FCID, Rajapaksa fears that his entire family and friends could be prosecuted and brought down to justice.[71]

Former President Rajapaksa asked President Sirisena over the pending charges against his family members and political associations to be dropped. However, President Sirisena refused to drop the charges that were ongoing, The meeting between President Sirisena and former President Rajapaksa ended up as unsuccessful over President's refusal to consider the key demands of Rajapaksa to be appointed as Prime Ministerial candidate and the charges against his family members and close associations to dropped.[72] Rajapaksa's faction in SLFP criticised that the FCID were used as a tool to revenge on his associations and threatened to take legal action against FCID.[73]


In 1994, he married Dr Maitree Wickremesinghe,[74] a Senior Lecturer of the Department of English at the University of Kelaniya.[75] She is the only daughter of Senevi B. Wickremasinghe and Shiranee Wickremasinghe (née Bandaratilaka) of Nawala, Koswatte.

International affiliations

He is a member of Mont Pelerin Society. The society held a special meeting in Sri Lanka in year 2004 under his influence, when he was Prime Minister.[76]

In 2014 Wickremesinghe has been named a Robert E. Wilhelm Fellow by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.[77]


Dissent within the Party

Dr. Sarath Amunugama and Nanda Mathew were the first UNP members of parliament to crossover and joined the government in 1999 during Ranil Wickremesinghe's tenant as the leader of UNP. This was followed by Wijayapala Mendis, a veteran UNPer and a member of parliament since 1965, who joined the government in 2000.

After the defeat in 2004 parliamentary election a senior member of UNP and a former minister of Ranil Wickremesinghe's 2001–2004 government, Rohitha Bogollagama switched sides and allied with government.[78] Soon after the defeat in the presidential election in 2005 Mahinda Samarasinghe and Keheliya Rambukwella defected to the government. Both were former ministers of Ranil Wickremesinghe's 2001–2004 government and senior members of the party. Mahinda Samarasinghe was the government chief whip (2001–2004) and the opposition chief whip(2004–2006). Keheliya Rambukwella had gained the highest number of votes in 2004 parliamentary election from Kandy district.

Following the controversy that resulted in the rejection of the UNP list of candidates for the Colombo Municipal Council election in 2006 that led to the UNP losing control over the Council after 50 years, prompted several senior members in the party to challenge Wickremesinghe's leadership and demanded his resignation as party leader. This group pushed to have Wickremesinghe replaced by the deputy party leader Karu Jayasuriya. However, this bid fell thought due to the lack of support from the majority of the party seniors.

In 2007, Wickremesinghe established a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Mahinda Rajapaksa government agreeing to UNP's collaboration with the government on issues of national interest.[79] However, shortly afterwards, 17 of the UNP's 60 members in parliament, including the group who had challenged Wickremesinghe's leadership, led by deputy leader Karu Jayasuriya crossed over to the governing UPFA ranks in parliament and were given ministerial appointments. The group consisted of senior members of UNP and many of them were former ministers of Ranil Wickremesinghe's 2001–2004 government: Karu Jayasuriya (Deputy Leader of UNP), M. H. Mohamed (former speaker of the parliament), Milinda Moragoda, G. L. Peiris, Bandula Gunawardane, Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena, Gamini Lokuge, P. Dayaratna, Mano Wijeyeratne, Rajitha Senaratne, R.A.D. Sirisena, Mahinda Wijesekara, Naween Dissanayake, Hemakumara Nanayakkara, R. M. Dharmadasa Banda, Neomal Perera and Chandrasiri Sooriyaarachchi.[80][81] However, in late 2008, Jayasuriya crossed over once again to the opposition and was given back the deputy leader post.[82]

In February 2008, Wickremasinghe was once again under pressure to step down from the party leadership to accept an advisory position, from a majority of the UNP's parliamentary group.[83] In March, the UNP working committee decided to create a new post called Senior Leader of the party and appointed Wickremasinghe to the post. This was amid discussion with the UNP's parliamentary group about the need for the Wickremasinghe to relinquish his post (of party leader) so that a new leader could be appointed.[84][85] However, late March the party working committee decided that he should remain as the party leader.[86]

The defection of the party stalwarts to join the government continued thereafter: Susantha Punchinilame, Mahinda Ratnatilaka and Nandimithra Ekanayake who were members of parliament,a famous business tycoon and UNP Anuradhapura district leaderThilanga Sumathipala,[87] a prominent UNP youth leader and a member of Western Provincial Council R. Duminda Silva,[88] a former UNP member of parliament and a veteran actor Ravindra Randeniya, opposition leader in North Western Provincial Council Ashoka Wadigamangawa[89] all allied with the government in different occasions.

S. B. Dissanayake, a senior UNP leader, joined the government in December 2009.[90] He was the national organizer of the party, and the opposition leader in Central Provincial Council. S.B. Dissanayake obtained the highest number of votes in Kandy District in 2009 Provincial Council Elections.

The most recent defection was the members of Parliament Johnston Fernando and Indika Bandaranayake joining the government.[91] It is alleged that over 60 UNP MPs left the party during Wickremesinghe's leadership.[92]

Batalanda detention center

It was alleged by the People's Alliance government that Wickremesinghe, then a Minister, was the political authority behind an illegal detention centre in the Batalanda housing and industrial complex outside Colombo between 1988 and 1990 which was allegedly run by a government-backed counter-subversive unit as part of the state's operation to put down an armed insurgency by the JVP.[93][94]

The People's Alliance government of President Chandrika Kumaratunga, appointed a "Special Presidential Commission of Inquiry Act" to investigate activities of Batalanda and on 3 September 1997 Wickremesinghe was summoned to testify before the commission.[95][96] The commissions report was released on 12 April 1998.[97] The commission was a fact-finding mission and had no judicial powers, however it recommended the government to "bring the guilty to book". One of its findings was that "Wickremesinghe and the SSP Nalin Delgoda, are indirectly responsible for the maintenance of places of unlawful detention and torture chambers in houses at the Batalanda Housing Scheme".[98][99] It further stated that Wickremesinghe held "unauthorised meetings of police officers involved in counter-insurgency operations in the housing complex, and that as such, he had abused his authority".[93] No criminal proceedings took pace thereafter.

Allegations on conspiring against Gamini Dissanayake

On August 2012, Minister of Health and SLFP general secretary Maithripala Sirisena alleged that during the 1994 presidential election campaign, all campaign details concerning the UNP presidential candidate Gamini Dissanayake were being secretly passed on to his opponent, Chandrika Kumaratunga by Wickremesinghe. Minister Sirisena made this disclosure while addressing an election committee meeting held at Siripura, Polonnaruwa. Sirisena asserted that he has ample proof to validate his claim and allegations.[100][101] Consequently, both parties started to challenge each other for open media debates.[102][103][104]

Allegation on "dictatorial behavior" in the party

Wickremesinghe was accused of being a dictator as the leader of UNP.[105][106] The Mahanayaka of the Asgiri Chapter the Most Venerable Udugama Sri Buddharakkitha Thero once has said that since recently the Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe is acting like a dictator.[107][108] On 2010, UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekara accused in that within the constitution of the UNP Ranil Wickremasinghe is not a democratic leader but a dictator.[109][110] Former minister and UNP MP Mahinda Wijesekara accused that "We don't need a dictator in the party" as Wickremesinghe opposed for the party reforms.[111]

See also


  1. "Ranil Wickremesinghe appointed Prime Minister". Trade Bridge Consultants. Retrieved 21 August 2015.
  2. "Ranil Wickremesinghe - Gentlemen Politician of 4 decades, alias mature leader of the people". United National Party. Retrieved 21 August 2015.
  3. "Sri Lanka election: shock as president Mahinda Rajapaksa concedes defeat". The Guardian. 9 January 2015. Retrieved 21 August 2015.
  4. Ramachandran, Sudha (13 August 2015). "Sri Lanka's Elections: Rajapaksa Tries a Comeback". The Diplomat. Retrieved 21 August 2015.
  5. "Prime Minister Wickremesinghe Calls For Buddhist Approach: Nikkei". AsiaMirror cloned Nikkei. 20 August 2015. Retrieved 21 August 2015.
  6. "Regi Siriwardena dies at 82". ancestry.com. Retrieved 21 August 2015.
  7. Prime Minister Ranil Wickrmesinghe: A social democrat with a vision and a mission, by N. Manoharan
  8. 1 2 "Sri Lanka: Former Prime Ministers". priu.gov.lk. Retrieved 21 August 2015.
  9. "Lankalovers". lankalovers.com. Archived from the original on 18 February 2005. Retrieved 21 August 2015.
  10. "Ranil Wickremasinghe is scheduled to take oaths as Prime Minister tomorrow | ITN News". www.itnnews.lk. Retrieved 2015-10-24.
  11. 1 2 3 "BBC News - SOUTH ASIA - Profile: Ranil Wickramasinghe". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 21 August 2015.
  12. Parliamentary General Election 2001, All Island Results
  13. Prime Minister sworn in, Dailynews, 10 December 2001
  14. "The Island on the net". island.lk. Retrieved 21 August 2015.
  15. New Cabinet: Swearing in today, Dailynews, 12 December 2001
  16. A working cabinet, Dailynews, 13 December 2001
  17. "A new era for Japan-Sri Lanka diplomatic relations". www.ft.lk. Retrieved 2015-11-25.
  18. "What is the Singapore-styled Western Region Megapolis plan for Colombo? | Adaderana Biz English | Sri Lanka Business News". bizenglish.adaderana.lk. Retrieved 2015-10-26.
  19. "Foreign Policy Annual, 2001-2009: Events". Retrieved 21 August 2015 via Google Books.
  20. PM holds top-level meetings in Washington: New relationship with United States, Dailynews, 24 July 2002
  21. Bush assures fullest support for peace process, Dailynews, 25 July 2002
  22. We could follow the British model of devolution – PM, Dailynews, 30 May 2002 Archived 13 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
  23. PM leaves for Japan, Dailynews, 3 December 2003
  24. PM meets Indian leaders, focus on trade and defence ties, Dailynews, 21 December 2003
  25. Ceasefire Agreement, February 2002
  26. "Sri Lanka Tourist Board Annual Statistical Report 2006". Scribd. Retrieved 21 August 2015.
  27. Peace Talks 16-18 September 2002, Bangkok
  28. Peace Talks 31 October-3 November 2002, Bangkok
  29. Peace Talks 2-5 December 2002, Oslo
  30. Peace Talks 6-9 January 2003, Bangkok
  31. Peace Talks 7-8 February 2003, Berlin
  32. Peace Talks 18-21 March 2003, Tokyo
  33. Oslo Declaration
  34. LTTE Suspends Peace talks, Dailynews 22 April 2003
  35. "Web Page Under Construction". tamilnation.org. Retrieved 21 August 2015.
  36. LTTE proposals handed over to Government, Dailynews, 1 November 2003
  37. "The Island : Sunday Edition". island.lk. Retrieved 21 August 2015.
  38. 1 2 "Silence Breaks : Part Three - Ranil's Presidential Dream Crumbled Down - Natarajah Kuruparan".
  39. "Use of cluster ammo not banned during war".
  40. "US asked SL to use cluster bombs against Tigers".
  41. "Abrogate CFA, ban LTTE says JVP". sundaytimes.lk. Retrieved 21 August 2015.
  42. LTTE smuggled four or five aircraft during CFA: Karuna
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  44. Chief Military Intelligence Officer gunned down, Dailynews, 1 June 2005
  45. "The Island on the net". island.lk. Retrieved 21 August 2015.
  46. I took over ministries in the interest of national security – President, Dailynews,5 November 2003
  47. "BBC NEWS - South Asia - Sri Lanka leader sacks parliament". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 21 August 2015.
  48. Provincial council elections 2008-09, results
  49. Presidential election 2005, results
  50. "Ranil new Prime Minister". DailyMirror.lk. 9 January 2015. Retrieved 10 January 2015.
  51. "Parliament to be dissolved by April 23-Ranil". DailyMirror.lk. 1 February 2015. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
  52. "PM continues Jaffna visit – addresses issues faced by schools".
  53. "Probe on missing persons will be completed within 6 months: PM says in Jaffna".
  54. "Sri Lankan PM pledges to uplift Northern Province communities".
  55. Subramanian, Nirupama (18 August 2015). "Sri Lanka parliamentary polls: Ranil Wickremesinghe's coalition edges ahead". The Indian Express. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  56. "Wickremesinghe Passes 500,000 Preferences From Colombo". AsiaMirror. 18 August 2015. Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  57. "Work on Megapolis from 2016". www.sundayobserver.lk. Retrieved 2015-10-29.
  58. hermes. "Singapore to revise master plan for Sri Lanka's Megapolis". The Straits Times. Retrieved 2015-10-26.
  59. "Megapolis Authority to be set up | The Sunday Times Sri Lanka". www.sundaytimes.lk. Retrieved 2015-10-26.
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  65. "Sri Lanka, Japan in "comprehensive partnership" deal: Ranil". economynext.
  66. "Tying the knot with Japan".
  67. "Sri Lanka to allow Chinese submarines to visit, says PM Wickremesinghe".
  68. "SFB to probe large-scale financial crimes".
  69. "Sri Lanka ex-leader's brother Basil Rajapaksa arrested". BBC. 22 April 2015. Retrieved 6 May 2015.
  70. "Johnston remanded till tomorrow". Hiru News. 5 May 2015. Retrieved 6 May 2015.
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  72. "Sri Lankan president refuses to halt corruption probe". Shanghai Daily. 6 May 2015. Retrieved 7 May 2015.
  73. "SLFP: Will take legal action against FCID procedure". DailyMirror.lk. 6 May 2015. Retrieved 7 May 2015.
  74. Maithree Wickremesinghe, Faculty of Humanities/Department of English, University Of Kelaniya Archived 28 June 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
  75. Academic Staff of the Department of English, University Of Kelaniya Archived 28 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
  76. Mont Pelerin Society-Past meetings Archived 9 August 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
  77. "MIT CIS: Ranil Wickremesinghe Joins MIT". mit.edu. Retrieved 21 August 2015.
  78. Bogollagama joins government
  79. "MoU in danger of collapse". sundaytimes.lk. Retrieved 21 August 2015.
  80. United People's Freedom Alliance
  81. Elephant walk today
  82. "The Island-Politics". island.lk. Retrieved 21 August 2015.
  83. Gamini Gunaratna, Sri Lanka News Paper by LankaPage.com (LLC)- Latest Hot News from Sri Lanka (27 February 2009). "Sri Lanka, 2 - 27 - 2009: Sri Lanka opposition leader faces further crisis in his party". Colombopage.com. Retrieved 20 September 2012.
  84. UNP to create post of Senior Leader Archived 22 March 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
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  86. Ranil retained as Leader Archived 6 June 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
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  88. Duminda Silva joins Govt
  89. "Ashoka crosses over to UPFA". sundaytimes.lk. Retrieved 21 August 2015.
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  92. "Ranil's Lack Of Honour". thesundayleader.lk. Retrieved 21 August 2015.
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  94. "Batalanda and Ranil – lot of explanations needed". Asian Tribune. Retrieved 20 September 2012.
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  101. "Ranil revealed Gamini's election campaign plans, claims Sirisena". Newsfirst.lk. 1 August 2012. Retrieved 21 September 2012.
  102. "Maithripala Sirisena has absconded from challenge, says Tissa Attanayake". Newsfirst.lk. Retrieved 21 September 2012.
  103. "News view". LankasriNews.com. Retrieved 21 September 2012.
  104. "VIDEO: Maithripala accepts Tissa's challenge". Adaderana.lk. Archived from the original on 8 May 2014. Retrieved 21 September 2012.
  105. "The Hypocrisy Of Ranil". The Sunder LEader. 18 December 2011. Retrieved 21 August 2015.
  106. "An Appeal To Ranil Wickremesinghe". The Sunday Leader. 23 September 2012. Retrieved 21 August 2015.
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  108. https://web.archive.org/web/20120103032527/http://www.thesundayleader.lk/2011/10/30/overthrowing-ranil-the-dictator/. Archived from the original on 3 January 2012. Retrieved 28 September 2012. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  109. "EXCLUSIVE: Ranil is a dictator – Dayasiri". adaderana.lk. Retrieved 21 August 2015. C1 control character in |title= at position 32 (help)
  110. https://web.archive.org/web/20121113154855/http://www.nation.lk/edition/politics/item/8774-ranil-and-sajith-clash-on-election-campaign-trail.html. Archived from the original on 13 November 2012. Retrieved 18 October 2012. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  111. "'I will not apologise to Ranil' - Mahinda Wijesekara". Sunday Observer. 16 July 2006. Retrieved 21 August 2015.

Further reading

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ranil Wickremasinghe.
Government offices
Preceded by
D. M. Jayaratne
Prime Minister of Sri Lanka
Preceded by
Ratnasiri Wickremanayake
Prime Minister of Sri Lanka
Succeeded by
Mahinda Rajapaksa
Preceded by
Dingiri Banda Wijetunge
Prime Minister of Sri Lanka
Succeeded by
Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga
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