Ranilís third stint as PM
Ranil Wickremesinghe, the National Leader of the United National
Party was sworn in as the Prime Minister under President Maithripala
Sirisena at the Independence Square on Friday.
This is the third time Ranil Wickremesinghe is holding the Prime
Ministerial portfolio of Sri Lanka.
Hailing from a political and business family, as the second son of
Esmond and Nalini Wickremesinghe, he had his education from Royal
College, Colombo associating with friends like Anura Bandaranaike and
Dinesh Gunawardena who later entered into politics following in the
footsteps of their parents. Wickremesinghe graduated from the University
of Colombo then known as the University of Ceylon. After graduation he
completed the law exams at the Sri Lanka Law College and took oaths as
an advocate in 1972.
He entered politics after joining the United National Party at his
young age and entered active politics after climbing the party hierarchy
and becoming the Organizer of the Kelaniya electorate. Later he was
appointed the UNP Chief Organizer of the Biyagama electorate.
He contested the parliament election in 1978 and became the MP for
Kelaniya under J.R. Jayewardene who became the first Executive President
of Sri Lanka. J.R. Jayewardene was his uncle and ruled the country from
1978 to 1988.
He became the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs in the J.R
Jayewardene government and later promoted to the post of Minister of
Youth Affairs and Employment becoming the youngest Cabinet Minister of
As the Youth Affairs Minister he initiated many youth movements and
paved way for the youth to undergo vocational training after
establishing the National Youth Services Council.
He was also appointed the Education Minister during the second term
of the J.R. Jayewardene regime.
President Ranasinghe Premadasa appointed him as the Minister of
Industries and Science and Technology.
As the Industries Minister he initiated the Biyagama Special Economic
Zone generating thousands job opportunities for the youth.
After President Ranasinghe Premadasa was assassinated by a LTTE
suicide bomber on May 1, 1993, he was appointed the Prime Minister for
the first time under Acting President of the country D.B. Wijethunga.
He became the Opposition Leader after the UNP government was defeated
in 1994 general election.
As the leader of the UNP he contested the Presidential election in
1999, with President Chandrika Kumaratunga as his rival. However, after
forming United National Front, with defectors from the Chandrika
Kumaratunga government Ranil Wickremesinghe successfully formed the UNF
government in 2001 December and became the 17th Prime Minister of Sri
He was able to turn around then economy which recorded minus growth
into a vibrant economy through an economic transformation.
He initiated a Norwegian brokered peace deal with the LTTE leader
Velupillai Prabhakaran and signed the Ceasefire Agreement on February
22, 2002. The peace negotiations he initiated with the LTTE helped to
create defections from the LTTE with LTTE Eastern Leader Karuna Amman
creating a rift in the LTTE.
However, his government was dissolved in 2004 by then President
Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga and the UNF failed to come to power
in 2004 April General Election and he once again became the Opposition
leader in the parliament.
In 2005 he lost to Mahinda Rajapaksa, after a close run at the
Presidential election. Mahinda Rajapaksa managed to gain a narrow
victory as the LTTE blocked the Tamil voters in the North from voting at
the election.As the Opposition leader he was always supportive of
national initiatives and closely worked with the incumbent President and
He was sworn in as the 21st Prime Minister of Sri Lanka after the
victory of Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential election.