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Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike holds the office for the third time. When first elected to the post in 1960, she was the world's first woman Prime Minster.


Hon. Sirimavo R. D. Bandaranaike

Hon. SIRIMAVO R.D. BANDARANAIKE (Born April 17, 1916) is the present prime minister of the democratic socialist republic of Sri Lanka

She is the world's first elected woman Prime Minister, and a founder leader of the Non Aligned Movement (NAM).

Mrs. Bandaranaike has achieved a rare distinction of becoming the Prime Minister for three times. She is an illustrious stateswoman who had brought credit to Sri Lanka at many international for a including the United Nations Organisations and the Non Aligned Movement. It was she brought a resolution before the UN asking that the Indian Ocean be made a Peace Zone. She worked very closely and actively with leaders like Indira Gandhi of India, Anwar Sadat of Egypt, Marshall Tito of Yugoslavia. She has been a friend of the socialist block.

Before becoming the Prime Minister in 1994 she took he oaths as the Minister without Portfolio on August 19, 1994. She donated her salary to the Treasury. She worked as an advisor to the Cabinet of Ministers of her daughter's government.

Indian Prime Ministers Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi has very close family connections with the Bandaranaike family and as a result Indo Sri Lanka Nations during her rule was unique. Her friendly and cordial approach helped her to find solutions to festering problems like the Stateless problem. Sirima-Shasthri agreement between Mrs. Bandaranaike and Lal Bahadur Shasthri helped to initiate accord to tripartite stateless persons in plantations to India. It was solely due to her effort that an amicable settlement favourable to Sri Lanka was reached on the question of the Kachchative, a tiny island between the South Coast of India and Sri Lanka's North Coast . Now the island belong to Sri Lanka.

Once when border issues between India and China showed signs of corruption. Mrs. Bandaranaike separately met the leaders and brought pacification.

She ruled the country from July 1960 to March 1965 and then from 1970 to 1977. For nearly 12 years Mrs. Bandaranaike ruled the country.

During the height of terror in 1988 she polled 2,289,868 votes of 44.9 percent as the presidential candidate at the elections held on December 19, 1988. Former President Ranasinghe Premadasa who won the election polled only 50.4 percent. Mr. Ossie Abeyagoonasekera received 4.5 per cent votes.

The daughter of Barned Ratwatte Dissawwa and Ratwatte Kumarihamy, she received her education at St Bridget's Convent, Colombo.

In 1940, she married Mr. S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike then Minister of Local Government and Health, who later became Prime Minister of the country in 1956 and continued till September 1959, when he was assassinated.

Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike was appointed Prime Minister as a member of the Senate contested her first seat in Parliament in March 1965 from the electorate of Attanagalle - and was returned by majority votes. She became the Leader of the Opposition on that Parliament. She had given leadership to the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), the party founded by her late husband and it both during good times and bad. Mrs. Bandaranaike's greatest achievement was perhaps, the staging of the 1975 Non Aligned Movement's Conference in Colombo, and her election as its Chairman. After her election to Parliament at the 1977 polls President J.R. Jayawardene appointed a Presidential Commission to inquire into the period 1970-77 and found her guilty. The Parliament adopted a special motion on October 16, 1980 and removed her civic rights for seven years. President Jayewadene granted her free pardon in January 1986.

 

 

Achievements


Following are some of the highlights of her political life.

Landslide victory at the July 1960 election and she was appointed Prime Minister by Sir Oliver Goonetillke, Governor-General.

The worked handed the beginning of a new era with a woman Prime Minister at the helm.

1960 - Attends Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference on London.

It was the first conference of Prime Ministers' at which a woman colleague participated.

1961 - Attends the Non-Aligned Summit in Belgrade, Yugoslavia.

1962 - Goes to China in December in an attempt to mediate in the border dispute between Indian and China.

1963 - Visit to Russia, Czechoslovakia and Poland to meet leaders of those countries.

1964 - Signing of the Sirima-Shasthri pact with India Attends Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Meeting and the Afro Asian Conference in Cairo.

Suffers a defeat in Parliament when 14 members led by C.P. de Silva, Leader of the House crossed over to the opposition UNP.

1965 - Wins the Attanagalla seat by a massive majority. But the SLFP loses the election.

1968 - Signs a common agreement as leader of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party with the Lanka Sama Samaja Party (Trotskyitos) and the Communist Party of Sri Lanka (Moscow).

1970 - May - Mrs Bandaranaike takes office as the Prime Minister for the second time after another landslide victory. The United Front consisting of the SLFP, LSSP and the CPSL gets a two-thirds majority in Parliament.

1971 - Uprising of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna JVP on the Peoples Liberation Front and the declaration of the state of emergency islandwide.

Address the 26th sessions of the United Nations General Assembly calls for international support for her proposal for the establishment of a peace zone in the Indian Ocean. Meets US President Richard Nixon, Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudead, and the British Prime Minister Edward Heath.

Presents five year plan to parliament brings ceiling on property laws and control of industries.

1972 - Adoption of the new constitutions of the Republic of Sri Lanka.

1975 - Sri Lanka leader gets unanimously elected Chairman of the Fifth Non-Aligned Summit.

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