List of presidents of Sri Lanka

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The President of Sri Lanka is the elected head of state and the chief executive. The president is a dominant political figure in Sri Lanka. The office was created in 1972, as more of a ceremonial position. It was empowered with executive powers by the 1978 Constitution introduced by J. R. Jayewardene.



  United National Party   Sri Lanka Freedom Party   Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna   Independent

No. Portrait Name
Home province
Term of office
Electoral mandates
Time in office
Other ministerial offices
held while president
Political party
of president
Government Ref.
William Gopallawa.jpg
President Gopallawa's flag.gif
William Gopallawa
විලියම් ගොපල්ලව
வில்லியம் கோபள்ளவா
22 May
4 February
Independent Sirimavo Bandaranaike II 10th [1]
5 years, 8 months and 13 days
Served as the last Governor-General of Ceylon and the first (non-executive) President when Ceylon declared itself a republic in 1972, and changed its name to Sri Lanka.
Junius Richard Jayawardana (1906-1996).jpg
Junius Jayawardene's flag.gif
Junius Richard Jayewardene
ජුනියස් රිචඩ් ජයවර්ධන
ஜூனியஸ் ரிச்சட் ஜயவர்தனா
4 February
2 January
Minister of Defence
Minister of Planning & Economic Affairs
Minister of Plan Implementation
& Minister of Higher Education
United National Party Jayewardene 11th
10 years, 11 months and 29 days
Introduced the Executive Presidency in 1978, and assumed the position of president of Sri Lanka.[2]
Ranasinghe Premadasa.jpeg
Ranasinghe Premadasa's flag .gif
Sri Lankabhimanya
Ranasinghe Premadasa
රණසිංහ ප්‍රේමදාස
ரணசிங்க பிரேமதாசா
2 January
1 May
Minister of Defence
Minister of Buddha Sasana
& Minister of Minister of Policy Planning & Implementation
United National Party Premadasa 13th [1]
4 years and 4 months
Was assassinated during a May Day rally, by an LTTE suicide bomber.
DBWijethunge President Standard .jpg
Sri Lankabhimanya
Dingiri Banda Wijetunga
ඩිංගිරි බණ්ඩා විජේතුංග
டிங்கிரி பண்ட விஜேதுங்க
1 May
7 May
Minister of Defence
Minister of Finance
Minister of Buddhist Affairs
United National Party Wijetunga I 13th [1]
7 May
12 November
1993[N 1] Wijetunga II 14th
1 year, 6 months and 10 days
Prime Minister at the time of Ranasinghe Premadasa's assassination by LTTE. Appointed as acting president and continued in that capacity until 7 May 1993 when he was elected by Parliament to the office of president under Article 40 of the Constitution.
Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga As The President of Sri Lanka.jpg
Presidential Flag of Chandrika Kumaratunga.gif
Chandrika Kumaratunga
චන්ද්‍රිකා කුමාරතුංග
சந்திரிகா பண்டாரநாயக்கே குமாரதுங்கா
12 November
19 November
Sri Lanka Freedom Party Kumaratunga 14th
1994, 1999 16th
11 years and 7 days 17th
The first non UNP president of the country. Appointed her mother, Sirimavo Bandaranaike, to succeed her as prime minister. Victim of multiple assassination attempts by LTTE, which were all unsuccessful.


Mahinda Rajapaksa.jpg
Presidential Flag of Mahinda Rajapaksa.gif
Mahinda Rajapaksa
මහින්ද රාජපක්ෂ
மகிந்த ராசபக்ச
19 November
9 January
Minister of Defence
Minister of Finance
Minister of Law & Order
& Minister of Highways, Ports & Shipping
Sri Lanka Freedom Party Mahinda Rajapaksa 17th
2005, 2010
9 years, 1 month and 21 days
Ended the 25-year-long Sri Lankan Civil War and LTTE insurgency in the country. Alleged war crimes during the final stages of the Sri Lankan Civil War, Infrastructure Development, Feud with Sarath Fonseka, Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution, Impeachment of Shirani Bandaranayake, Defeated in 2015 elections.
Maithripala Sirisena 2017.jpg
Presidential Standard of Sri Lanka (Maithripala Sirisena).svg
Maithripala Sirisena
මෛත්‍රීපාල සිරිසේන
மைத்திரிபால சிறிசேன
North Central
9 January
18 November
Minister of Defence
Minister of Mahaweli Development and Environment
Sri Lanka Freedom Party[N 2] Sirisena
(UNP backed coalition)
18th [1]
2015 19th
4 years, 10 months and 9 days
Defeated Rajapaksa in his bid for unprecedented third term. Mainly backed by United National Party and other opposition parties nominated under New Democratic Front (Sri Lanka). Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution. 100-day reform program. Reinstated Shirani Bandaranayake as Chief Justice. Promoted Sarath Fonseka to the rank of Field Marshal. Reset foreign relations with India and the United States.
Nandasena Gotabaya Rajapaksa.jpg
Presidential Standard of Sri Lanka (Gotabaya Rajapaksa).gif
Gotabaya Rajapaksa
ගෝඨාභය රාජපක්ෂ
கோட்டாபய ராஜபக்ச
18 November
14 July
Minister of Defence
Minister of Technology
Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna Rajapaksa I 19th [1]
2019 Rajapaksa II 20th
Rajapaksa III
2 years, 7 months and 26 days Rajapaksa IV
Appointed Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Prime Minister. Amassed extensive presidential powers through the 20th Amendment to the Constitution. Economic mismanagement led the country to an economic crisis, and a subsequent political crisis, when he refused to resign in response to massive anti-government protests. Reappointed Ranil Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister in May 2022, following Mahinda Rajapaksa's resignation. Resigned on 14 July, after fleeing the country on the 13th, designating Wickremesinghe as Acting President.[4][5][6][7]
9 Prime Minister of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe, at Hyderabad House, in New Delhi on November 23, 2017.jpg Ranil Wickremesinghe
රනිල් වික්‍රමසිංහ
ரணில் விக்ரமசிங்க
14 July
20 July
Minister of Defence
Minister of Technology
Minister of Finance
Minister of Women, Child Affairs and Social Empowerment
United National Party Wickremesinghe 20th [8]
20 July
2022[N 1]
2 months and 17 days
Appointed as Acting President following the resignation of Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who fled the country amidst the 2022 Sri Lankan political crisis.[9] On 20 July 2022 he was elected by Parliament to the office of president under Article 40 of the Constitution.

Living former presidents[edit]

President Term of office Date of birth
Chandrika Kumaratunga 1994–2005
11 years, 7 days
(1945-06-29) 29 June 1945 (age 77)
Mahinda Rajapaksa 2005–2015
9 years, 51 days
(1945-11-18) 18 November 1945 (age 76)
Maithripala Sirisena 2015–2019
4 years, 313 days
(1951-09-03) 3 September 1951 (age 71)
Gotabaya Rajapaksa 2019–2022
2 years, 238 days
(1949-06-20) 20 June 1949 (age 73)

The most recent death of a former president was that of Dingiri Banda Wijetunga (1993–1994) on 21 September 2008, aged 92.


Ranil WickremesingheGotabaya RajapaksaMaithripala SirisenaMahinda RajapaksaChandrika KumaratungaDingiri Banda WijetungaRanasinghe PremadasaJunius Richard JayewardeneWilliam Gopallawa

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Indirect election by parliarment.
  2. ^ Elected as a New Democratic Front candidate.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Heads of State". Parliament of Sri Lanka. Retrieved 29 December 2013.
  2. ^ "Former Sri Lanka president dies, leaves mixed legacy". CNN. 1 November 1996. Retrieved 4 October 2008.[dead link]
  3. ^ "Presidential candidates cast their votes". News First. Retrieved 2019-12-02.
  4. ^ Pathi, Krutika (13 July 2022). "Thousands protest against Sri Lanka's new acting president". Associated Press. Colombo. Retrieved 14 July 2022. Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled on a military jet on Wednesday after angry protesters seized his home and office, and appointed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as acting president while he is overseas.
  5. ^ Marian, Teena (14 July 2022). "Speaker yet to receive GRs resignation". News First. Retrieved 14 July 2022.
  6. ^ Jayasinghe, Uditha (14 July 2022). "Sri Lanka awaits president's resignation after flight". Reuters. Colombo. Retrieved 14 July 2022.
  7. ^ "Sri Lanka Crisis LIVE Updates: Gotabaya Rajapaksa steps down as president, emails resignation letter to parliament speaker". Times Of India. 14 July 2022. Retrieved 14 July 2022.
  8. ^ Gunasekara, Skandha; Schmall, Emily; Mashal, Mujib (14 July 2022). "Sri Lanka's President Resigns After Months of Protest". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 July 2022.
  9. ^ Sri Lanka PM Wickremesinghe sworn in as acting president - govt official

External links[edit]