Famous Sri Lankan Presidents

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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.
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 1 
Ranil Wickremasinghe
(9th President of Sri Lanka)
Ranil Wickremasinghe
3
Birthdate: March 24, 1949
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Colombo, Sri Lanka

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.

 2 
Mahinda Rajapaksa
(President of Sri Lanka)
Mahinda Rajapaksa
4
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. 
 3 
Chandrika Kumaratunga
(5th President of Sri Lanka (1994-2005))
Chandrika Kumaratunga
4
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. 

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 4 
Ranasinghe Premadasa
(Third President of Sri Lanka)
Ranasinghe Premadasa
4
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.

 5 
Maithripala Sirisena
(President of Sri Lanka)
Maithripala Sirisena
4
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.

 6 
J. R. Jayewardene
(2nd President of Sri Lanka (1978-1989), 7th Prime Minister of Sri Lanka (1977-1978))
J. R. Jayewardene
2
Birthdate: September 17, 1906
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Colombo, Sri Lanka
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.

 7 
Dingiri Banda Wijetunga
(Former President & Prime Minister of Sri Lanka)
Dingiri Banda Wijetunga
1
Birthdate: February 15, 1916
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Polgahanga, Sri Lanka
Died: September 21, 2008

Dingiri Banda Wijetunga was a Sri Lankan political leader best remembered for his service as the President of Sri Lanka from 1993 to 1994. An influential politician, he also served as the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka from 1989 to 1993. In 1993, Dingiri Banda Wijetunga was honored with the prestigious Sri Lankabhimanya, Sri Lanka's highest civilian honor.