Ratnasiri new Prime Minister
Veteran politician, SLFP stalwart and Cabinet Minister Ratnasiri
Wickremanayake was yesterday sworn in as the country's 18th Prime
He replaces former Premier Mahinda Rajapakse who was elected
President on November 17. The new Prime Minister yesterday took his
oaths before President Rajapakse at the auspicious time of 11.39 a.m. at
This is the second time that Wickremanayake was elevated to the
Premier's Office. He was earlier appointed Prime Minister in 2000 by
then President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga replacing the then
incumbent Sirimavo Bandaranaike.
The Cabinet of the previous UPFA Government stood dissolved with the
assumption of office of the new President. Yesterday's simple ceremony
was attended by former Ministers of the UPFA Government and leaders of
its constituent parties.
Former Foreign Affairs and Tourism Minister Anura Bandaranaike, the
original nominee for the post, was also present.
Speaking to journalists after being sworn in, Premier Wickremanayake
acknowledged the contribution made by the people to elect Rajapakse as
"But, they should not stop there. They should continue with their
responsibility to push the Government and the President to do what
country needs," Premier Wickremanayake added.
Wickremanayake, 73, first entered Parliament in March 1960 contesting
the Horana electorate from the Mahajana Eksath Peramuna. In the July
1960 Parliamentary election he again successfully contested the Horana
electorate as an Independent candidate.
Having joined the SLFP in 1962 he successfully contested the 1965 and
1970 General elections and became MP for Horana.
He was the Deputy Minister of Justice, Minister of Justice, and
Minister Plantation Industries in the United Front Government of
Sirimavo Bandaranaike from 1970 to 1977.
After losing the 1977 election he re-entered politics in 1993 having
contested the Western Provincial Council and became a Minister of the
Western Provincial Council in which Chandrika Banaranaike Kumaratunga
was the Chief Minister.
He held the portfolios of Public Administration, Plantation
Industries, Parliamentary Affairs and Home Affairs of the PA Government
in 1994. He was appointed Prime Minister in October 2000. He held the
Ministerial portfolios of Public Security, Law and Order, Buddhasasana,
Agriculture and Deputy Minister of Defence in the UPFA Government.
Ratnasiri's political journey
Born May 5, 1933
Schools - Millewa Primary school, Dharmapala Vidyalaya Pannipitiya
and Ananda College, Colombo
Joined Lincoln's Inn for Barrister of Law Degree
1959 - Returned to Sri Lanka following the demise of elder brother
Munidasa who was in active politics in the Horana electorate before he
could sit for final Barristers exam
1960 - First entered Parliament as MP for Horana from the Mahajana
July 1960 - Successfully contested the General Election as an
1962 - Joined the SLFP
1965 - Re-elected MP for Horana from the SLFP
1970 - Re-elected MP for Horana and became the Deputy Minister of
Justice in the United Front Government
1975 - Assumed duties as Minister of Plantation Industries
1976 - Appointed Minister of Justice in addition to the Minister of
1978 - Appointed SLFP General Secretary
1993 - Re-entered politics contesting the Western Provincial Council
election and became a Provincial Council Minister.
1994 - Elected MP for Kalutara district and assumed duties as
Minister of Public Administration, Home Affairs, Minister of
Parliamentary Affairs and Plantations
2000 - Re-elected MP for Kalutara district and sworn in as the Prime
Minister and as Minister of Buddhasasana and Plantation Industries.
2001 - Re-elected MP for Kalutara district
2004 - Appointed MP from the National List and sworn in as Minister
of Public Security, Law and Order and Minister of Buddhasasana, and
Deputy Minister of Defence
July 2005 - Sworn in as Minister of Agriculture