Sri Lanka is an island country in South Asia that is situated near south-east India. It shares its maritime borders with India and Maldives. The history of the country dates back 3000 years ago. Its strategic location and deep harbours gave it a prominent place in history. During the 19th century, Sri Lanka just like its neighbouring country India was occupied by the British East India Company. When in 1947 Sri Lanka gained its independence, the country followed a Westminster-based political system wherein the Prime Minister served as the head of the government. He was the most powerful politician of the country. However, during the constitutional change of 1972, the office of the President was introduced. Sri Lanka became a republic in 1978, with the President as the head of the country and the government. The President of Sri Lanka is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, head of the Cabinet, appoints the prime minister, and can dissolve parliament. Though modelled on the lines of France governing system, the President of Sri Lanka enjoys greater power than its French counterpart. He is concerned with presidents all the aspects of the government and is able to hold cabinet portfolios. He can bypass the cabinet posts by delegating decisions to the Presidential Secretariat. A total of seven politicians have served as the President of Sri Lanka since its inception, none having served twice. The office is currently held by Maithripala Sirisena. Know more about Sri Lankan Presidents in this section.