Famous Sri Lankan Leaders

Sri Lanka maybe a small island country in South Asia but that doesn’t mean it is unimportant. The country, popularly known as the tear drop of India due to its shape, is the largest exporter of tea in the world. Did you know that cinnamon which you so fondly use in your daily food owes its roots in Sri Lanka? Sri Lanka’s deep harbours and its strategic geographic location made it an important seat during the World War II. It has a high human development index. Much of that has been possible due to its leaders who have played a quintessential role in putting Sri Lanka as one of the most important countries in the world map. Prior to the current presidential system, Sri Lanka had a parliamentary system until 1978. The Prime Minister was vested with executive powers while the role of the President was largely ceremonial. However, in 1978, the constitution changes introduced by J.R Jayewardene empowered President with executive powers, thus making the position of the Prime Minister nominal. Jayewardene presided over Sri Lankan governmental affairs for more than ten years before being taken over by Ranasinghe Premadasa who was later assassinated. Chandrika Kumaratunga was the first female President to serve the country from 1994 until 2005. Maithripala Sirisena currently serves as the President of Sri Lanka. Check this section to know more about famous Sri Lankan leaders.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Mahinda Rajapaksa

Mahinda Rajapaksa
8
Famous As: President of Sri Lanka
Birthdate: November 18, 1945
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Weeraketiya
The highlight of Mahinda Rajapaksa’s political career as the Sri Lankan president was ending the 30-year-old civil war with the Tamil Tigers. The Freedom Party member lost the 2015 election but came back to power as the leader of the Sri Lanka People's Front, becoming the country’s prime minister. 

 2 Sirimavo Bandaranaike

Sirimavo Bandaranaike
3
Famous As: Prime Minister of Sri Lanka (1960-65, 1970-77, 1994-2000)
Birthdate: April 17, 1916
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Mahawalathenna, Sri Lanka
Died: October 10, 2000
Sirimavo Bandaranaike served as the prime minister of Sri Lanka and was the world's first female prime minister. She was initially married to prime minister S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike and participated in charitable work for rural women. She joined the Sri Lanka Freedom Party after her husband’s assassination.

 3 Maithripala Sirisena

Maithripala Sirisena
4
Famous As: President of Sri Lanka
Birthdate: September 3, 1951
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Sri Lanka

Former president of Sri Lanka Maithripala Sirisena, son of a World War II veteran, first stepped into politics with the Ceylon Communist Party and then led the Sri Lanka Freedom Party. A probe into the 2019 church bombings in Sri Lanka found he had ignored prior hints about the attack.

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 4 Ranil Wickremasinghe

Ranil Wickremasinghe
3
Famous As: Prime Minister of Sri Lanka
Birthdate: March 24, 1949
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Dominion of Ceylon

Former Sri Lankan prime minister Ranil Wickremasinghe was born into a family of print media moguls and grew up to become an advocate. The United National Party leader had also been in the news for his rounds of peace talks with the LTTE. He is married to academic Maitree Wickremasinghe.

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 5 Velupillai Prabhakaran

Velupillai Prabhakaran
12
Birthdate: November 26, 1954
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Valvettithurai
Died: May 19, 2009

 6 Chandrika Kumaratunga

Chandrika Kumaratunga
3
Famous As: Fifth President of Sri Lanka (1994-2005)
Birthdate: June 29, 1945
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Colombo, Sri Lanka

Chandrika Kumaratunga is a Sri Lankan politician who became the first female president when she was elected as the president of Sri Lanka in 1994. Having served as the president from 1994 to 2005, Kumaratunga is the only female Sri Lankan president to date. She also served as the head of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party from 1994 to 2006. 

 7 Ranasinghe Premadasa

Ranasinghe Premadasa
3
Famous As: Third President of Sri Lanka
Birthdate: June 23, 1924
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Colombo, Sri Lanka
Died: May 1, 1993

Ranasinghe Premadasa was a Sri Lankan politician who served as the third president of Sri Lanka from 1989 to 1993. Before serving as the president, Premadasa served as the prime minister of Sri Lanka from 1978 to 1989. In 1986, he became the first Sri Lankan to receive the prestigious Sri Lankabhimanya, the country's highest civilian award.

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 8 Arul Pragasam

Arul Pragasam
3
Birthdate: January 1, 1940
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: London

 9 D. S. Senanayake

D. S. Senanayake
3
Famous As: First Prime Minister of Sri Lanka
Birthdate: October 20, 1883
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Mirigama
Died: March 22, 1952

Sri Lanka’s first prime minister, D. S. Senanayake, was the son of a plantation owner and graphite miner and was raised as a devout Buddhist. An amateur cricketer in school, he later took to rubber planting and formed the cooperative-society movement. He rejected the honor of a knighthood.

 10 C. W. W. Kannangara

C. W. W. Kannangara
3
Famous As: Diplomat, Politician
Birthdate: October 13, 1884
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Sri Lanka
Died: September 23, 1969

 11 J. R. Jayewardene

J. R. Jayewardene
3
Famous As: Former President of Sri Lanka
Birthdate: September 17, 1906
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Colombo
Died: November 1, 1996

J. R. Jayewardene was a Sri Lankan politician and leader. He served as the prime minister of Sri Lanka from 1977 to 1978 and then went on to serve as the country's second president from 1978 to 1989. A controversial figure, Jayewardene's actions have been recognized as a contributing factor to the commencement of the Sri Lankan Civil War.

 12 Sarath Fonseka

Sarath Fonseka
2
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: December 18, 1950
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Ambalangoda

 13 Ranjan Ramanayake

Ranjan Ramanayake
2
Famous As: Actor, Politician
Birthdate: March 11, 1963
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Negombo, Sri Lanka

 14 J.B. Jeyaretnam

J.B. Jeyaretnam
2
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: January 5, 1926
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Sri Lanka
Died: September 30, 2008

 15 Rosy Senanayake

Rosy Senanayake
2
Famous As: Politician, Activist
Birthdate: January 5, 1958
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Colombo, Sri Lanka

 16 Malini Fonseka

Malini Fonseka
2
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: April 30, 1949
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Peliyagoda, Kelaniya, Sri Lanka

 17 Vanushi Walters

Vanushi Walters
2
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: July 31, 1981
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Sri Lanka

 18 Vijaya Kumaratunga

Vijaya Kumaratunga
2
Famous As: Singer, Actor
Birthdate: October 9, 1945
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Ja-Ela, Sri Lanka
Died: February 16, 1988

 19 Thileepan

Thileepan
0
Famous As: Revolutionary
Birthdate: November 29, 1963
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Jaffna, Sri Lanka
Died: September 26, 1987

 20 Anarkali Akarsha

Anarkali Akarsha
2
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: July 12, 1987
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Colombo, Sri Lanka

 21 Gamini Fonseka

Gamini Fonseka
2
Famous As: Politician, Actor
Birthdate: March 21, 1936
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Dehiwala, Sri Lanka
Died: September 30, 2004

 22 Dingiri Banda Wijetunga

Dingiri Banda Wijetunga
2
Famous As: President of Sri Lanka
Birthdate: February 15, 1916
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Polgahanga, Sri Lanka
Died: September 21, 2008

 23 Pavithra Wanniarachchi

Pavithra Wanniarachchi
1
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: November 10, 1964
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Sri Lanka

 24 Udaya Gammanpila

Udaya Gammanpila
1
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: February 6, 1970
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Nawalapitiya, Sri Lanka

 25 Jeewan Kumaranatunga

Jeewan Kumaranatunga
1
Famous As: Politician, Actor
Birthdate: November 7, 1958
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Seeduwa, Sri Lanka

 26 Ravindra Randeniya

Ravindra Randeniya
1
Famous As: Actor, Politician
Birthdate: June 5, 1945
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Dalugama, Kelaniya, Sri Lanka

 27 Neelan Tiruchelvam

Neelan Tiruchelvam
1
Famous As: Lawyer
Birthdate: January 31, 1944
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Sri Lanka
Died: July 29, 1999

 28 Adeline Molamure

Adeline Molamure
0
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: 1890 AD
Birthplace: Sri Lanka
Died: 1977 AD