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‘Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga’ has been a prominent political figure in Sri Lanka. She rose from the rank of Prime Minister of Sri Lanka to President. Today in this blog we will learn about Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga.


Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga President of Sri Lanka

Early Life of Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga

Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga was born on 29 June 1945 in Colombo, Ceylon [now Sri Lanka]. She was a member of a prominent Sri Lankan political family, and the first woman to serve as the President of Sri Lanka (1994–2005).

Family Background of Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga

Chandrika Bandaranaike was the daughter of two former Prime Ministers. His father was S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike, the founder of the socialist Sri Lanka Freedom Party and Prime Minister from 1956 until his assassination in 1959.

     His mother was Sirimavo Bandaranaike, who took control of the party after the death of her husband and who served as Prime Minister from 1960 to 1965 and from 1970 to 197.

Education of Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga

Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga was educated at the universities of Paris and London, where she studied political science, economics, law, and journalism. She turned to politics in 1984 and along with her husband, a former actor, Vijaya Kumaratunga, helped establish the Sri Lanka People’s Party.

When her husband was assassinated in 1988, she formed the United Socialist Alliance. After a period in London, she returned to Sri Lanka in the early 1990s and formed the left-wing coalition People’s Alliance in 1993.

Political journey of Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga

In the elections held on 16 August 1994, the People’s Alliance took the largest number of seats in parliament, and Kumaratunga became prime minister on 19 August. He then won a landslide victory in the presidential election held on 9 November, when he defeated Srima Dissanayake, the widow of United National Party (UNP) candidate Gamini Dissanayake, who had been assassinated two weeks earlier.

       On 14 November he appointed his mother as the Prime Minister. In 1995 he proposed changes to the constitution that would make Sri Lanka a federal state, including its districts, which had a Tamil majority, had local autonomy. However, violence by Tamil separatists continued unabated and was met with government retaliation.

Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam

Violence escalated during the 1999 election campaign directed against both the Sinhalese majority population and political figures. Kumaratunga was injured by a bomb in an assassination attempt at an election rally, one of two attacks on the Tamil Tigers (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam), in which more than 30 people were killed.

He won re-election to the presidency for a second six-year term in December 1999 and vowed to maintain pressure against militant insurgents, seeking a settlement with moderate Tamil elements. Fighting continued, and by the beginning of the 21st century, more than 60,000 people had been killed.

In 2001, Kumaratunga’s rival, Ranil Wickremesinghe, became prime minister after the UNP won parliamentary elections, and the two politicians frequently clashed. He publicly opposed his peace efforts, claiming that the rebels had received too many concessions.

The power struggle led to Kumaratunga calling for new elections in 2004, and the defeat of the UNP; Wickremesinghe was replaced by hawkish Mahinda Rajapakse as the Prime Minister. Kumaratunga faced further turmoil later that year when Sri Lanka was devastated by a massive tsunami. Legally banned for a third term, he stepped down in 2005, succeeded by Rajapaksa.


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