ABOUT LEADER

Hon Ranil Shriyan Wickramasinghe MP LLB (born March 24, 1949) was Prime Minister twice, from May 7, 1993 to August 19, 1994 and from December 9, 2001 to April 6, 2004. He has also been the leader of the United National Party since November, 1994 and a member of the party since the early 1970s.

Wickramasinghe’s father was Esmond Wickramasinghe, an ex-Samasamajist and supremo of the Lake House group of newspapers. His paternal uncle Lakshman Wickramasinghe was later to be a much respected Bishop of the Church of Sri Lanka. His maternal line consisted of newspaper barons and landowners, the Wijewardenas, who were Sinhala Buddhists. His maternal grandfather was D.R. Wijewardena, the founder of the Lake House publishing empire.

Wickramasinghe was educated at Royal College, Colombo where he was a classmate and a good friend of Anura Bandaranaike, son of then Prime Minister Solomon Bandaranaike and Dinesh Gunawardena, son of socialist leader Philip Gunawardena. In spite of his inheritance, Wickramasinghe chose to pursue his higher education in his own country, entering the Faculty of Law at the University of Colombo. After graduation he completed the law exams at the Sri Lanka Law College and took oaths as an attorney-at-law. Of all the Presidents and Prime Ministers of Sri Lanka, Wickramasinghe is the only person to graduate from a local university, the remainder either having degrees from foreign universities or no university education at all.

A successful lawyer, Wickramasinghe joined the United National Party (UNP) and progressed through its youth and bar ranks. Wickramasinghe was appointed as the chief organizer of the Kelaniya Parliamentary seat in the mid 1970s but was later installed as the chief organizer of the Biyagama seat which he won in the 1977 Parliamentary Elections.

He was installed as the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs in the new government and was soon promoted to the post of Minister of Youth Affairs and Employment which made him the youngest cabinet minister of Sri Lankan history to date, during is term he created the Sri Lanka National Guard. He introduced the National Youth Services Council (NYSCO) which provides vocational and career training to thousands of school leavers. Wickramasinghe was later made the Minister of Education. As the education minister, he could made a visible positive difference in the standards of education and could build an image as an achiever. Wickramasinghe was also behind distributing television sets to thousands of remote schools in Sri Lanka.

Under the Presidency of Ranasinghe Premadasa, Wickramasinghe was appointed as the Minister of Industry and Leader of the House under which he initiated the Industrial reforms and established the Biyagama Special Economic Zone. Wickramasinghe had competition from his intellectual colleagues Lalith Athulathmudali and Gamini Dissanayake, who had been rivals of President Premadasa. However, he outmaneuvered both of them and many others and accordingly he was appointed the leader of house in 1989. On May 7, 1993 Wickramasinghe was sworn in as Prime Minister after President Ranasinghe Premadasa was assassinated, by the Tamil Tigers.

In the 1994 Parliamentary Elections, the UNP lost to Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga’s People’s Alliance (PA) which ousted Wickramasinghe from the Prime Ministership. He also lost the race to be the Opposition Leader by 2 votes to fellow UNP member Gamini Dissanayake who just 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 showing great spirit and strength under Gamini Dissanayake, when he too was assassinated by the Tamil Tigers. Gamini Dissanayake’s widowed wife Srima became the replacement candidate of the UNP and secured only 35% of the vote, losing to Chandrika Kumaratunga in all the Parliamentary seats in Sri Lanka apart from Mahiyangana. Afterwards Wickramasinghe was appointed as the Opposition Leader as well as the UNP leader.

As Opposition Leader Wickramasinghe undertook his party through a difficult time period where the UNP supported many of the good deeds of the government despite some members of his party asking him to be more aggressive. In 1999 President Kumaratunga called the Presidential Elections a year prior to its expiration in the hope of regaining and fortifying power in order to amend the constitution. Wickramasinghe was nominated as the UNP candidate.

After a tense election campaign in the wake of the violent North Western Provincial Council election, President Kumaratunga was attacked by the Tamil Tigers in an attempt on her life in which she lost her right eye. In the election held 2 days later (December 21, 1999), amidst a wave of sympathy, Chandrika Kumaratunga received 51% of the total votes to be re-elected for her second and final term.

In 2001 Sri Lanka underwent severe losses in the warfront and only managed a highly unsatisfactory -1% economic growth rate, the first ever negative growth in the country’s history. By the end of the year a some members of the PA government led by S. B. Dissanayake a senior Minister of the PA government, and Deputy Finance Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris left the PA to join the UNP thus destabilising the Parliamentary composition which led Kumaratunga to call for fresh elections. The United National Front (UNF), formed with the PA dissidents, the Sri lanka Muslim Congress and the Ceylon Workers’ Congress assumed power in the 2001 Parliamentary Elections held on December 10. Wickramasinghe’s UNP won all but 6 of the 22 Electoral Districts in Sri Lanka. Thus Ranil Wickramasinghe took oaths as the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka for the second time.

One of his first acts was to sign a ceasefire agreement with the LTTE rebels and start peace talks. This has resulted in a visible development of the country. The civil war came to a halt; the North and South of the island was linked after decades and millions of people benefited as a result. During Wickramasinghe’s second term he also re-energized the economy to reach an economic growth rate of 6% and managed to keep the inflation down, at 2% – the country’s lowest. His liberal economic policies stabilized the national economy. He also developed many international ties setup by him during his time in the Opposition. Sri Lanka underwent huge social changes during this period due to the ceasefire which made the country much accessible and open.

Wickramasinghe came under fiery criticism after a police officer, commonly perceived as a Wickramasinghe ally, exposed an elite Sri Lankan army LRRP unit, based in Colombo who were engaged in covert operations against the LTTE, on the accusation that the unit was deployed to assassinate Wickramasinghe. However, most of the information about this event is baseless and were created by the political opponents of Wickremesinghe, mainly the extremist JVP. During the Presidential Election campaign of 2005 Wickramasinghe addressed most of these concerns and proved these accusations were not correct.

By November 2003 the LTTE showed willingness to reenter the peace talks by proposing an Interim Self Governing Authority (ISGA), which was seen by some as a blueprint for peace. President Kumaratunga quickly shook off these proposals and assumed the Defense, Interior, and Media Ministries – which cut short the powers of the UNP regime. Soon the President Kumaratunga’s PA allied with radical socialists Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna to form the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) and dissolved Parliament to call for new elections.

In the 2004 Parliamentary Elections held on April 02 Ranil Wickramasinghe’s UNF lost governmental office. The popular image of the UPFA candidate and his unrealistic but attractive promises like promising a 70% wage raise, tearing apart of the ceasefire agreement, lowering of the cost of living, employing the unemployed and reinstating the fertilizer subsidy. This left Wickramasinghe and his party a lot to think about and within such a small time they rebuilt the grassroots of the party and strengthened its position as the largest political party of Sri Lanka. Within 14 months of the assumption to power of the UPFA the radical JVP wing left the government destabilizing the government which has over 30 Parliamentarians short of the required majority.

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

In the Presidential Election, held on November 17, 2005, Wickramasinghe was defeated narrowly by Mahinda Rajapaksa the Prime Minister at the time gaining 50.29% of the vote, while Wickramasinghe gained 48.43%. A majority of the minority Tamil population in the Northern and Eastern parts of the country who were largely expected to back Wickramasinghe were prevented from voting by the LTTE, who called for a boycott of the polls.

23 thoughts on “ABOUT LEADER

  1. Asian Heroes 2003
    Srilankas Ranil Wickremsinghe was elected to PARLIMENT AT THE AGE OF 28 AT THAT TIME HIS UNCLE WAS COUNTRY’S pRIME mINISTER he became srilank’s priminister at the age of 54. since the 2 years of his being at the helm of srilankan goverment there has been a glorious,
    peaceful lull in the two decade long LTTE strife. as aresult of his talks with LTTE the path towards a permanent solution is getting clearer
    General Knowledge time Grade – 8
    Edition – 2004 Indian school – kuwait

  2. HI Dude facts sre wrong totally in most of the places he is not the only one remain in the parliment with local degree serch well before write

  3. leader wit immence potential but unfrotunantly people of sri lanka still don’t get the measure of this gerat leader
    that’s nature of us we value gerat people after thier edath

  4. Dear Ajith

    ask Ranil to leave the party ,, if he leaves a lot will join the party, like Rajitha, Hemantha too might come back for bandaragama,, coz your are not a UNPer ,, until the day you got the organizer ship,,, your mother still a pA supporter,, and ,,tell you frankly ,, your not the most efficient lawyer in the panadura Bar ,, you earn money from POLI,, business ,, do you think people doesn’t know this thing ,,if so your wrong ,, keep your hopes down ,,and start from the beginning

  5. The Monks should fight with ltte not the sinhala teenagers. The SL.government should stop forcing the sinhala teenagers to join the military.

  6. aibon qwwa,
    udinma kynna ona,…..
    me yaka innathuru thopita dinana behe.(edit karnna epa.mokada noogath gode apatath aithiyak thiyenawa ehema kynna.obathumala wage aya kurakkan mama (mahinda) ,balagiri(sarath fonseka)wage wachana kynawanam.
    dinanna beri ekek dagena web site nowei monawa thibbath beriya.obathumala kopamana igena gaththath polowe paya gahanna igena gena netha.99 di janathawata duka hithuna nisa peraduni,2005 yapane demala muniya chande danna nogiya nisa peradunya.
    me vdhata giyothin kilinochchi kathawata obathuma demu bala giri kathawama kiyanna wenawaya.denuth nemei eda idn kyna bawa mole athi ayata therenawa.(obathuma wage tka denekuta hera)
    meeta ratata hithawath
    gode lamaya,,,,,,

  7. Gode Lamaya,

    Thanks for the advice. Don’t think there is any need to edit. You will see I have kept comments unless (a) filth is used or (b) there is a personal attack against any of my colleagues.

    I do not mind anybody critisising UNP policies. No party can win if it restricts dialog.

  8. Oh Dear, Ranil & UNP. what a Joke !!! Ajith will have the honors of being part of the Longest Servicing mainstream opposition party in the world. Now isn’t that going to be a Guinness world record. Congrats buddy.

  9. Someone called Sameera Weerakkody has said above..

    “My Heart, My Boold, And My Life U.N.P.”

    Yako thoge heart eka, blood eka, life eka should be your country!

  10. dear ajith

    unp is not anyone legacy .now the time is became to change the leadership.

    make sure to protect at least base of foundation of unp forthcoming province council election.

  11. Dear Anuja,

    Ranil is determined to stay on until Ruwan Wijewardena (his nephew) matures. After all this is a UNP (an Uncle Nephew Party) From JR to Ranil (through Preme and DBW who had be appointed quite unexpectedly very much due to the prevailing political circumstances) and now from Ranil to Ruwan.

  12. Dear Ajith,

    It was very nice to see our classmates in Ananda in the photo. Would like if you come to our Anual Get Togethers, paduru parties. Havent seen you for a long time.

    But,frankly saying, I felt very sorry for you, when I saw how you were trying–In vain Obviously- to make a better Image for Ranil.
    All Sri Lankans, at least every Anadian should know the History, at least the recent History- and should have learnt lessons from it.
    Other wise, this means, you are -like all other politicians do-, thinking that People can be Fouled All the Time, just for the benefit of You – Politicians.

    ” Mun Okkoma Gonnu, Api kiyana Ona deyak Piliganiy”.

    Just place the country before yourself. If you are caught in fooling people, You will loose all of Your True Freinds.
    Be Frank, Always Be truthful and you will be enlightned.

    Singa

    ther

  13. I’M very much delighted with the hope of the UNP. the only party we can vote whether we belong to any race or religion.

    It’s the only party that can develop our country.
    SLFP has always got to power by playing games with feelings of sinhalese majority.
    UNP through it’s glorious history has always come to power with support of the tamils and muslims together with the sinhalese.
    That’s why I say that UNP is the only party that can develop Sri Lanka.

    The lord buddha has said that if want to solve a problem,we should first believe that there’s a problem.But unfortunately the majority of the sinhalese does not see any of these problems because their eyes are covered by the word war.

    We can talk hours about the greatness of our motherland,the proud history we have,the greatness of our ancestors.Together with that if our minds are balanced we all should disagree the pollution and corruption done by this government.

    Because of the braveness of our everloving war heroes the devil war is going to end. But it will not be the end of the problem. We should win the war that’s in the hearts of the tamil people.It’s the hardest but the most important thing.It will not be solved by the president speaking in tamil.It’s much more hard to solve promlem. The only party that can solve it is the one and only our United National Party. We love it because we love our country.

  14. Dear Mr.Ajith!

    Some cruel, mad people do not know the History of UNP.. they are bastards.. Rajitha is the Real bastard… But who loves truely this country they will vote UNP for ever…
    So, do your best for people… We will see in the future… All the best!

    Damith Rajapakse

  15. All i Can Say is when the people really get to know the value of the present Leader of UNP Mr. Ranil Wikramasinghe it will be too late. And UNP is the only party which can build up this country…

  16. Neutral says
    Ranil has had no opotunity to govern the country and get decisions for the whole country. To my knowledge he should be given a chance to rule because when he was Education Ministor he was successfull.His ideas on economy of this country sounds better.

  17. To all who are waiting for Ranils resignation.

    I’m not an UNPer but leftist.But I know RW is the only political leader in sri Lanka who can give the democracy(dhanapathi projathanthravadaya) for sri lankan As MR and the Gang is Alibaba and theives.

    If RW came to power people will enjoy Democrazy and Privetisation (at least they can live in peace)

    Ajith please dont give up don’t care mudsling you carryon your good job

  18. UNP is a descent party, and not a thuggery party as UPFA. Dont talk of the present government who put millions and millions of innocents garment workers to the road, by making garment factories close. They dont care a damn, as they are anyway well off. They only need a pen to own the public/private property. They talk about Sinhalese/buddhist, and tell me who is following the real Pancha seelaya. Bull shit!! All are bloody bull shitters, and they think people eat grass, as they do. Dont forget there is a thing called dhitta dhamm wedhaneeya karma. You all will have to pay for all the sins in this birth itself, and not in the next birth to come. Instead wasting our heard earned money on their digital banners, they should have given a way of living by putting up a stall for the street beggers, which atleast would have remembered. All bloody kalakanniyas, and that is why Ratatama hena gahala thiyenne. A person who is ruling a motherland should be a pure person, and whom do we have? So where is the seedewi kama?

  19. Ranil W and the entire old Royal College Gang must go home. Can’t they at least understand the meaning of their own old College motto – Disce Aut Discede – Learn or Depart ? They have neither LEARNT a lesson in politics, nor do they want to DEPART from it!

  20. Ranil Wickremesinghe’s manifesto is always paving the way for mortgaging Sri Lanka to international community, World Bank, IMF and the multinational corporations.
    Since its existence it was UNP now being led by Ranil Wickremesinghe — which was responsible for all the antiTamil and antiMuslim agendas in Sri Lanka. It was UNP that was responsible for making more than a million Tamils speaking Sri Lankans of the Indian origin who toiled to build the economy of Sri Lanka voteless and stateless.
    Almost all the antiTamil programmes were initiated and implemented by the UNP.
    It was the UNP leaders who were in Jaffna directly organized and supervised the torching and burning of the Jaffna Library which was one of the most violent examples of ethnic biblioclasm of the last century. Ranil Wickremesinghe was a part of this UNP government.
    Ranil Wickremesinhe was a cabinet minister when the 1983 antiTamil pogrom was initiated by the UNP government led his uncle President J.R.Jeyawardene. Under principles of parliamentary democracy guided by collective responsibility Ranil Wickremesinghe too is guilty of the crimes committed against the Tamils in 1983. It was when Ranil Wickremesinghe was a Cabinet Minister; the UNP Government initiated war as a solution to the ethnic conflict. Ranil Wickremesinghe was a member of inner UNP Cabinet that organized and supervised military operations against the Tamils.
    Ranil Wickremesinghe ordered and witnessed the execution of hundreds of innocent young men from Kelaniya area in his torture chamber in Batalanda in 1989 which was confirmed by the Presidential Commission of Inquiry which comprised retired judges. The courts rejected charges based on technical issues, not factual issues. Since Ranil Wickremesinghe committed these horrendous crimes in Batalanda, Ranil Wickremesinghe had to abandon not only his electorate of Biyagama, but also the Gampaha District. Since these murders Ranil Wickremesinghe is an MP without an electorate – thanks to his uncle J. R. Jayawardene’s constitution. After the 1989 Batalanda mass murder, Ranil Wickremesinghe recruited a convicted killer and multiple criminal Gonawala Sunil as his secretary. Ranil Wickremesinghe’s secretary Gonawala Sunil went around killing and intimidating people Ranil Wickremesinghe wanted to be silenced. Ranil Wickremesinghe’s corruption in “LH Plantations” has been highlighted with excruciating details by his closest ally Mangala Samaraweera. Ranil Wickremesinghe’s very close family members own several newspapers, broadcasting and telecasting stations which promote Ranil Wickremesinghe and help to prolong his political survival.

    -Nalliah Thayabharan

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