Ranil Wickremesinghe, the current Prime Minister of Sri Lanka and the only MP of the United National Party, was born on 24 March 1949. He is the leader of the United National Party since 1994. He has served as the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka from 7 May 1993 to 18 August 1994, 8 December 2001 to 6 April 2004, 9 January 2015 to 26 October 2018 and 15 December 2018 to 21 November 2019. He has also been the Leader of the Opposition twice in the Sri Lankan Parliament. In such a situation, Ranil Wickremesinghe is a well-known face in Sri Lankan politics.
Became MP for the first time in 1977
Ranil Wickremesinghe was born into a wealthy political family in Sri Lanka. He graduated from the University of Ceylon and completed his law degree from Ceylon Law College in 1972. He became active in politics in the mid-1970s by joining the United National Party. He was elected MP from Byagama for the first time in the 1977 parliamentary elections. After which his uncle President J.R. Jayawardene appointed Ranil as the Deputy Minister of External Affairs. Thereafter he was appointed Minister of Youth Affairs and Employment. In this way he became the youngest cabinet minister in the history of Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka’s PM for the first time after the assassination of President Premadasa
In 1989, President Ranasinghe Premadasa appointed Wickremesinghe as Minister of Industry, Science and Technology and Leader of the House. He took over as the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka for the first time after the assassination of President Premadasa. The Prime Minister of Sri Lanka at that time was DB Wijetunga, who resigned from his post and took over the vacant President’s post. He was appointed Leader of the Opposition in November 1994 following the assassination of Gamini Disanayake during the 1994 presidential election campaign. On 8 January 2015, Wickremesinghe was appointed Prime Minister of the country by President Maithripala Sirisena. Maithripala Sirisena defeated Mahinda Rajapaksa in the 2015 presidential election.
In the 2015 elections, the Prime Minister’s chair was taken over by an alliance.
In the 2015 parliamentary elections, Wickremesinghe’s coalition United National Front for Good Governance won 106 seats. Despite this, he did not have a majority in the 225-member Sri Lankan parliament. In such a situation, Wickremesinghe got the support of more than 35 Sri Lanka Freedom Party members. Many of them were also made ministers in the Wickremesinghe government. On 26 October 2018, President Maithripala Sirisena crowned Mahinda Rajapaksa, removing Wickremesinghe from the post of Prime Minister. Wickremesinghe then refused to accept President Sirisena’s decision, resulting in a constitutional crisis. For this reason, on 16 December 2018, President Sirisena ended the constitutional crisis by re-appointing Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister.
Wickremesinghe had to face defeat in the 2020 elections
The country’s oldest party UNP could not win a single seat in the 2020 parliamentary elections. Wickremesinghe, who contested from Colombo, a stronghold of the UNP, also lost. Later he was able to reach Parliament through a national list allotted to the UNP on the basis of Gross National Votes. His colleague Sajith Premadasa separated from him and formed a separate party SJB which became the main opposition party. Wickremesinghe is widely accepted as a leader in handling the economy with visionary policies. He is considered a Sri Lankan politician who can also mobilize international cooperation.