Category:Leaders of the United National Party
Pages in category "Leaders of the United National Party"
The following 7 pages are in this category, out of 7 total, this list may not reflect recent changes (learn more).
The following 7 pages are in this category, out of 7 total, this list may not reflect recent changes (learn more).
1. J. R. Jayewardene – He was a leader of the nationalist movement in Ceylon who served in a variety of cabinet positions in the decades following independence. His younger brothers included Dr Hector Wilfred Jayewardene, QC and Dr Rolly Jayewardene and his uncles were the Colonel Theodore Jayewarden, Justice Valentine Jayewardene and the Press Baron D. R. Wijewardena. Raised by a English nanny, he received his education at Bishops College, Colombo and attended Royal College. At Royal College he played for the cricket team, debuting in the Royal-Thomian series in 1925. He would later serve as the Secretary of the Royal College Union, Jayewardene entered the University College, Colombo, in 1926 to read English, Latin, Logic and Economics, he attained a distinguished academic record and showed a keen interest in sports. In 1928 he transferred law by entering Colombo Law College and passed out as an advocate, starting his practice in the unofficial bar, Jayewardene converted from Christianity to Buddhism in his youth. Jayewardene did not practice law for long, in 1938 he became an activist in the Ceylon National Congress, which provided the organizational platform for Ceylons nationalist movement. He became its Joint Secretary in 1940 and he was elected to the colonial legislature, the State Council in 1943 by winning the Kelaniya by-election. During World War II, Jayewardene, along with other nationalists, contacted the Japanese, after joining the United National Party on its formation in 1946, he became Finance Minister in the island’s first Cabinet in 1947. He played a role in re-admitting Japan to the world community at the San Francisco Conference. Jayewardenes acute intelligence and subtle, often aggressive political skills earned him leading roles in government, in 1951 Jayewardene was a member of the committee to select a National Anthem for Sri Lanka headed by Sir Edwin Wijeyeratne. The following year he was elected as the President of the Board of Control for Cricket in Ceylon, as the youngest Finance Minister, in D. S. Senanayakes government, Jayewardene struggled to balance the budget, faced with mounting government expenditures, particularly for rice subsidies. His 1953 proposal to cut the subsidies - on which many people depended on for survival - provoked fierce opposition and the 1953 Hartal campaign. By the late 1950s, the UNP struggled to deal with the force of the Sinhala-nationalist Sri Lanka Freedom Party. Jayewardene pushed the party to accommodate nationalism and endorse the Sinhala Only Act, throughout the 1960s Jayewardene clashed over this issue with party leader Dudley Senanayake. Jayewardene saw how skilfully the SLFP had played the ethnic card and he was determined to place this industry on a solid foundation providing it a conceptional base and institutional support. The new Minister Hon. J. R and this was the beginning of a new industry ignored by the previous governments but given a new life by Minister J. R. Jayewardene. In the general election of 1970 the UNP suffered a major defeat, once again elected to parliament J. R. Jayewardene took over as opposition leader and de facto leader of the UNP due to the ill health of Dudley Senanayake
2. John Kotelawala – General Sir John Lionel Kotelawala CH KBE KStJ PC was a Sri Lankan soldier and politician, most notable for serving as the 3rd Prime Minister of Ceylon from 1953 to 1956. Sir John Kotelawala was born into a family, his father John Kotelawala Snr was an Inspector in the Ceylon Police Force. Following accusations of murder John Kotelawala Snr committed suicide when his son was 11, following this their family was ruined, Alice Kotelawala who was originally a Buddhist converted to Christianity after this. Through careful management of their holdings and plumbago mines she made her family prosperous. For her social work she was awarded a CBE and he had a younger brother Justin Kotalawela and a sister Freda, who married C. V. S. Young Kotelawala attended Royal College, Colombo, but had to leave after he became involved in activities during the riots in 1915. Thereafter he embarked on a trip to Europe after leaving school and he remained in Europe for five years, spending most of that time in England and France and attended Christs College, Cambridge University to study agriculture. Kotelawala was known as an aggressive and outspoken man who loved sports, horseback riding and cricket and, particularly as a young man and he was fluent in Sinhala, English and French. After returning to Ceylon, he took up managing his family estates and mines. He married Effie Manthri Dias Bandaranaike and later divorced, Effie Bandaranaike was the niece of Don Stephen Senanayake the first prime minister of Sri Lanka. They together had one daughter Lakshmi Kotelawala, Kotelawala briefly served with the mounted section of the Colombo Town Guard without enlisting, since he was under age at the time. He went on to serve 23 years mostly as a reservist since the Ceylon Defence Force was a unit of the British Army. In 1939 he became the officer of the Ceylon Light Infantry and was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 1940. With the start of World War II he became a member of the Ceylons War Cabinet and was made a Colonel in 1942, a strong supporter of the military, he was the first Chairman of the Ceylon Light Infantry Association in 1974. He was promoted to the rank of general on his deathbed and he bequeathed his home and estate Kandawala to the government to establish a national defence academy. As early as 1915 Kotelawala had become involved with leaders such as Don Stephen Senanayake and his brother F. R. Senanayake. They criticized many of the actions of the British colonial officials and he entered mainstream politics by being elected to the Legislative Council as the member of Kurunegala. Thereafter he entered the State Council as a backbencher and was re-elected in 1936, in his second term he was appointed Minister of Communications and Works and later as the Minister of Agriculture
3. Ranasinghe Premadasa – Sri Lankabhimanya Ranasinghe Premadasa was the third President of Sri Lanka from 2 January 1989 to 1 May 1993. Before that, he served as the Prime Minister in the government headed by J. R. Jayewardene from 6 February 1978 to 1 January 1989. He was awarded Sri Lankas most highest award to a civilian Sri Lankabhimanya in 1986 by President Junius Richard Jayewardene and he was assassinated in Colombo in a suicide bombing by the LTTE. R. Premadasa was born on 23 June 1924 at Dias Place, Colombo 11, to the family of Richard Ranasinghe of Kosgoda and Jayasinghe Arachchige Ensina Hamine of Batuwita, R. Premadasa was the oldest of five children, three sisters, and one brother. While attending school, he attended the Hewavitharana Daham Pasala and he completed his education at St. Joseph’s College, during the Le Goc era. He satisfied all the requirements for registering at the University of London for higher studies, however, he gave up this opportunity to engage in higher studies and chose path of social service for the welfare of the poor and down- trodden. He was the organizer of the community development project of the area in 1939. These youth who enrolled in his development movement refrained from taking liquor, allying with late A. E. Goonesinghe, the founder leader of the Ceylon Labour Movement, he commenced his political life. He had several ups and downs in that era and he had been the Deputy Mayor of the Colombo Municipal Council while functioning as a member of San Sebastian’s Ward. Joining hands with late Dudley Senanayake, he joined the UNP, the following year he joined the protest march to Kandy on October 3, which had been organized by the late J. R. Jayewardene. This march was disrupted at Imbulgoda by some thugs led by a politician of the area. He was elected the third Member of Parliament for Colombo Central in the Dudley Senanayake government at the election held in March 1960. Later he was elected Member for the Cinnamon Gardens Ward in the Colombo Municipal Council and it was at this time that he married Hema Wickramatunge, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Wickramatunge Arachchige Charles Appuhamy of Bandarawela, on June 23,1964. The son, Sajith, and daughter, Dulanjali, were born to this couple, Premadasa initially supported the Labour Party, then headed by A. Ekanayake Gunasinha. He was elected Deputy Mayor of Colombo in 1955, part of his political program was shelter for the poor, after the United Nations declared a Year of Shelter. On the economic front, the garment industry project that he initiated became a forerunner in earning foreign exchange, later he was raised to the position of Minister of Local Government. In the following general election held in 1970, he was elected first MP for Colombo Central and sat in the Opposition with late J. R. Jayewardene, Premadasa was once again appointed Chief Opposition Whip. Further, he was elected chairman of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth Inter- Parliamentary Association held in Australia, in the meantime, he held membership of the Constituent Assembly which drafted the constitution of 1972
4. D. S. Senanayake – Don Stephen Senanayake, PC was the first Prime Minister of Sri Lanka. He emerged as the leader of the Sri Lankan independence movement that led to the establishment of self-rule in Sri Lanka and he served as Prime Minister from the formation of an independent nation in 1948 until he died in office in 1952. He is considered as the Father of the Nation and he was born in the village of Botale. He was the son of Mudaliyar Don Spater Senanayake and Dona Catherina Elizabeth Perera Gunasekera Senanayake and he had two brothers, Don Charles D. C. Senanayake and Fredric Richard F. R. Senanayake, and one sister, brought up in a devout Buddhist family, he entered the prestigious Anglican school S. Thomas College, Mutwal. After completing schooling, he worked as a clerk in the Surveyor Generals Department, the three Senanayake brothers were involved in the temperance movement formed in 1912. When World War I broke out in 1914 they joined the Colombo Town Guard, the brothers were imprisoned without charges during the 1915 riots and faced the prospect of execution since the British Governor Sir Robert Chalmers considered the temperance movement as seditious. Brutal suppression of the riots by the British initiated the independence movement led by the educated middle class. Don Stephen and Don Charles were prominent members of the political party Lanka Mahajana Sabha, Fredrick Richard and Don Charles were committed supporters of the Young Mens Buddhist Association. D. S. Senanayake played a role in the independence movement. In 1924 Senanayake was elected unopposed to the Legislative Council of Ceylon from Negombo, Fredrick Richard died on a pilgrimage to Buddha Gaya in 1925 and Don Stephen assumed his leadership of the independence movement. In 1931 he was elected to the newly formed State Council of Ceylon representing the Ceylon National Congress and he effectively combated Ceylons agricultural problems and established the Land Development Ordinance, an agricultural policy to counter Ceylons rice problems. This policy earned him respect, and he continued to be a minister for fifteen years and he also enforced a productivity programme of Agricultural Modernisation. At the onset of World War II in the far east, D. S. Senanayake, as Minister of Agriculture and Lands and a member of the Ceylon war cabinet took an active role in food supply and control. A close relationship developed between Senanayake and the deputy commissioner Dr Ivor Jennings, principal of the Ceylon University College, Jennings, an expert on constitutional law, subsequently became D. Ss adviser on constitutional reforms aimed at gaining independence for the island. In December 1942, Senanayake became the Leader of the House and Vice Chairman of the Board of Ministers in the State Council, upon the retirement of Sir Baron Jayatilaka, Minister of Home Affairs. On 26 May 1943, the British Government made the Whitehall Declaration of 1943 on Ceylon constitutional change and this bypassed the Governor, who called for a commission from the colonial office to halt the activities of the ministers. In 1944, the Soulbury Commission was formed, in 1945, following Labours win in the 1945 general election, he proceeded to London and met the newly appointed Secretary of State for the Colonies, George Hall
5. Dudley Senanayake – Dudley Shelton Senanayake,19 June 1911 –13 April 1973) was a Ceylonese politician, who became the second Prime Minister of Ceylon and went on to become Prime Minister two more times. Dudley received his education at the prestigious S. Thomas College. He became the Head Prefect, captained the team at cricket at the Royal-Thomian and gained colours in Hockey, Boxing. Senanayake then went on to Corpus Christi College, Cambridge to read for Natural Science Tripos, after returning to Ceylon, Dudley was elected a member of the State Council while his father was Minister of Agriculture and served as a back-bencher for 10 years. He succeeding his father as Minister of Agriculture in 1946 and held the post after Independence and he was still serving as agriculture minister when his father died unexpectedly. Four days later, on 26 March 1952, to the surprise of many and he called a general election, which the UNP won. The government became unpopular a year later, in 1953, when the price of rice was raised, though the UNP remained in power, Senanayake resigned as prime minister during the Hartal 1953 and left politics. He returned to politics in 1957 when the UNP lost elections and he became the leader of the opposition and help force early elections in 1965 by persuading 14 supporters of Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike to defect. Senanayake served his longest term as minister from March 1965 to May 1970. His government originally consisted of six other parties and included both Tamil and Sinhalese nationalists and his government has been credited with restoring the Sri Lankan economy. He and his allies were defeated in the 1970 elections and he remained active in politics until his death, which occurred after a long illness on 13 April 1973
6. Ranil Wickremesinghe – He is also the leader of the United National Front, having been appointed head of the alliance in October 2009. Wickremesinghe also previously served as Prime Minister from 7 May 1993 to 19 August 1994 and 9 December 2001 to 6 April 2004 and he was appointed party leader in November 1994 following the assassination of Gamini Dissanayake during the campaign for the 1994 presidential election. On 8 January 2015, Wickremesinghe was appointed as Prime Minister by President Maithripala Sirisena, Wickremesinghes coalition alliance, the United National Front for Good Governance, won the 2015 parliamentary election with 106 seats. Although it fell short of a majority, Wickremesinghe was re-elected as Prime Minister with over 35 Sri Lanka Freedom Party members joining his cabinet. Born on 24 March 1949 in Colombo, Wickremasinghe is the son of Esmond Wickremesinghe. His father was an ex-Samasamajist lawyer who became a baron taking over the Lake House Group of newspapers from his wifes father D. R. Wijewardena. Wickremasinghe entered the Faculty of Law at the University of Ceylon, after graduation, he completed the law exams at the Sri Lanka Law College and took oaths as an advocate in 1972. During his term as deputy minister, he initiated the Sri Lanka National Guard and the National Youth Services Council, Wickremesinghe was later made the Minister of Education. Under the Presidency of Ranasinghe Premadasa, Wickremasinghe was appointed as the Minister of Industry, under which he initiated industrial reforms, Wickremesinghe had competition from his senior colleagues in the UNP, Lalith Athulathmudali and Gamini Dissanayake, who had been rivals of President Premadasa. He was appointed the Leader of the House in 1989, on 7 May 1993, Wickremesinghe was sworn in as Prime Minister after President Ranasinghe Premadasa was assassinated by the Tamil Tigers and Prime Minister D. B. During his term he was credited for pushing the country through an economic transformation and was generally backed by the business community. In the 1994 parliamentary elections, the UNP lost to Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratungas Peoples Alliance, Wickremasinghe was defeated in the race for Opposition Leader by two votes by fellow UNP member Gamini Dissanayake, who had re-joined the party. This gave Gamini Dissanayake the default leadership of the party and made him the nominee of the UNP. The UNP was progressing well under Gamini Dissanayakes leadership, when he too was assassinated by the Tamil Tigers, Gamini Dissanayakes widow, Srima replaced him as the candidate of the UNP in the 1994 election. Securing just 35% of the vote, she lost to Chandrika Kumaratunga in all electorates except Mahiyangana, afterwards, Wickremesinghe was appointed as the opposition leader as well as the UNP leader. Wickremasinghe was seen as an opposition leader who gave the government a chance to carry out its agenda in its early days. In the 1999 election, Wickremesinghe was nominated as UNPs Presidential candidate, in the election held two days later 21 December 1999 amidst a wave of sympathy, Kumaratunga received 51% of the popular vote to be re-elected as Executive President. The gap between Wickremesinghe and Kumaratunga was approximately 700,000 votes, Kumaratunga was sworn in for her second term as President on 22 December 1999
7. Dingiri Banda Wijetunga – He closely associated with veteran politicians like George E. de Silva and A. Ratnayaka. A. Ratnayake who was then Minister of Food and Co-operatives in the D. S. Senanayake Cabinet took him as his Private Secretary and he joined the United National Party in 1946. In terms of meeting the needs of his constituents, he was considered the most effective MP in that Parliament, during this regime Wijetunga functioned in various ministerial capacities holding the portfolios of Posts and Telecommunication, Power, Highways and Agricultural Development. He served briefly as the Governor of North Western province in 1988 before returning to Parliamentary politics a few months later, in the last general election he contested he secured the largest number of preferential votes in the Kandy District. Wijetunga was surprisingly appointed Prime Minister in 1989 by President Ranasinghe Premadasa, Party heavyweights such as Gamini Dissanayake and Lalith Athulathmudali were overlooked apparently because the President favoured a deputy who had no further political ambitions. He also held the Ministries of Finance and Labour and Vocational Training in addition to being the State Minister of Defence in the Premadasa administration, as Prime Minister Wijetunga performed the role expected of him by the President to perfection, playing second fiddle to the charismatic Premadasa. The former Prime Ministerial aspirants and arch rivals Dissanayake and Athulathmudali united to lead an attempt to impeach the President. Both of them were expelled from the party and consequently lost their Parliamentary seats, Athulathmudali was shot dead in April 1993 while campaigning for the Provincial Council elections. The killing provoked widespread protests against the government and allegations were hurled at the President for complicity in the assassination, a week later President Premadasa was also murdered in Colombo on May Day 1993 in a suicide bombing widely considered to be an act of the Tamil Tigers. Wijetunga became acting President until Parliament convened to elect a successor to the slain President under the terms of the Constitution, Wijetunga was elected unanimously by Parliament to complete the remainder of Premadasas term and was sworn in as the fourth executive President on 7 May 1993. As president, Wijetunga set about his work in his own simplistic, after the authoritarian Premadasa, Wijetunga ushered in a more political free era. His rule also coincided with the rise of Chandrika Kumaratunga within the ranks of the SLFP, for some of the elite the daughter of two Prime Ministers was a refreshing contrast to the humble village peasant in President Wijetunga. He did not believe that peace could be achieved by negotiating with the LTTE and his rather hawkish approach to the ethnic conflict also made him unpopular especially among the minorities who traditionally backed his party. The Eastern Province was liberated from the LTTE during his tenure except Thoppigala, however his party was defeated in the 1994 general election and Wijetunga graciously appointed Kumaratunga as Prime Minister. Even though under the constitution, Wijetunga was bestowed with powers, he wisely chose not to exercise much authority. He decided not to contest the election and he appointed Lucky Jayawardena as the organizer for his electorate udunuwara. He relinquished office in November 1994 after Kumaratunga was elected President by an unprecedented majority and his political career was Succeeded by Lucky Jayawardena. Wijetunga died after a prolonged illness around 9.30 am on 21 September 2008 at Kandy General Hospital, obituary Associated Press Dingiri Banda Wijetunga – the journey to greatness by M. B