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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 the country.

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 Lanka.

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 the Government.

He was sworn in as the 21st Prime Minister of Sri Lanka after the victory of Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential election.

 

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