Home      Discussion      Topics      Dictionary      Almanac
Signup       Login
Chandrika Kumaratunga

Chandrika Kumaratunga

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Chandrika Kumaratunga'
Start a new discussion about 'Chandrika Kumaratunga'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga born June 29, 1945) was the 4th Executive president
Executive president
An executive president is a president who exercises active executive power in a certain systems of government. Executive presidents are active in day-to-day governance of a nation, and are usually popularly elected....

 of Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

, serving from November 12, 1994 to November 19, 2005. The daughter of two former Prime Ministers, she was also the leader of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party
Sri Lanka Freedom Party
The Sri Lanka Freedom Party is one of the major political parties in Sri Lanka. It was founded by S.W.R.D Bandaranaike in 1951 and, since then, has been one of the two largest parties in the Sri Lankan political arena. It first came to power in 1956 and since then has been the predominant party in...

 until end of 2005. She is Sri Lanka's only female president to date.

Early life & education


Hailing from one of the most prestigious aristocratic families that has a long history in the socio-political arena of the country, her father, S.W.R.D Bandaranaike
Solomon Bandaranaike
Solomon West Ridgeway Dias Bandaranaike Solomon West Ridgeway Dias Bandaranaike (Sinhala:සොලමන් වෙස්ට් රිජ්වේ ඩයස් බන්ඩාරනායක)(Tamil:சாலமன் வெஸ்ட் ரிச்சர்ட் டயஸ் பண்டாரநாயக்கா)Solomon West Ridgeway Dias Bandaranaike (Sinhala:සොලමන් වෙස්ට් රිජ්වේ ඩයස් බන්ඩාරනායක)(Tamil:சாலமன் வெஸ்ட் ரிச்சர்ட் டயஸ்...

 was a government minister at the time of her birth and later became Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Sri Lanka
The Prime Minister of Sri Lanka is the functional head of the Cabinet of Sri Lanka. However, the President is both head of state and head of government in Sri Lanka...

. He was assassinated in 1959, when Chandrika was fourteen. Chandrika's mother, Sirimavo Bandaranaike
Sirimavo Bandaranaike
Sirimavo Ratwatte Dias Bandaranaike was a Sri Lankan politician and the world's first female head of government...

, then became the world's first female prime minister in 1960 and her brother Anura Bandaranaike
Anura Bandaranaike
Anura Priyadarshi Solomon Dias Bandaranaike was a Sri Lankan politician, served as Speaker , and in several cabinet ministries as Foreign Minister briefly in 2005, Minister of Higher Education , Minister of Tourism , Minister of National Heritage and Leader of the Opposition...

 was a former Speaker of the Parliament of Sri Lanka
Speaker of the Parliament of Sri Lanka
In Sri Lanka the Speaker of the Parliament is the individual who chairs the country's legislative body, the Parliament of Sri Lanka. The Speaker fulfills a number of important functions in relation to the operation the House, which is based upon the British Westminster Parliamentary system.The...

 and a former minister. Her grandfather, Sir Solomon Dias Bandaranike was the Maha Mudaliyar
Sri Lankan Mudaliyars
Mudali was a colonial title & office in Sri Lanka. The Portuguese colonials created the Mudaliyar class in the 17th century by enlisting natives of different castes form the coastal areas, who were most likely to serve the Portuguese masters with utmost loyalty. The Dutch continued the practice of...

, (the chief Ceylonese representative and advisor to the Governor) during British colonial rule.

She was educated at the St Bridget's Convent, Colombo
St Bridget's Convent, Colombo
St. Bridget's Convent is a private girls' school in Colombo, Sri Lanka. It was founded on February 1st, 1902 by the Sisters of the Good Shepherd order, making it one of the earliest mission schools of the Roman Catholic Church of Ireland in Ceylon...

 and in 1965 she entered the Aquinas University College and gained a scholarship to the University of Paris
University of Paris
The University of Paris was a university located in Paris, France and one of the earliest to be established in Europe. It was founded in the mid 12th century, and officially recognized as a university probably between 1160 and 1250...

 in 1967, where she spent five years, graduating from the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris (Science Po) in political science. While in Paris she obtained a Diploma in Group Leadership from the same University.Her Ph.D studies in Development Economics at the University of Paris were interrupted when she returned to Sri Lanka to enter politics, where her mother’s government had launched a wide ranging programme of socialist reform and development. During her days in France, she was active in the Student Revolution of 1968. She is fluent in Sinhala, English and French.

Political career


After returning to Sri Lanka, she took up politics in the Sri Lanka Freedom Party and, in 1974, became an Executive Committee member of its Women's League. Following the land reform
Land reform
[Image:Jakarta farmers protest23.jpg|300px|thumb|right|Farmers protesting for Land Reform in Indonesia]Land reform involves the changing of laws, regulations or customs regarding land ownership. Land reform may consist of a government-initiated or government-backed property redistribution,...

 in Sri Lanka from 1972–1976, she was additional principal director of the Land Reform Commission. From 1976–1977, she was chairman of the Janawasa Commission, which established collective farms. From 1976–1979, she acted as a consultant to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

.

She stayed in active politics supporting her husband's party Sri Lanka Mahajana Party by leaving the SLFP. After Vijaya Kumaratunga was assassinated, she left the country for the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, working for World Institute for Development Economics Research at the United Nations University during her time there, not returning till 1991.

Kumaratunga was elected as the chief minister of the Western Province of Sri Lanka
Western Province, Sri Lanka
The Western Province is the most densely populated province of Sri Lanka. It is home to the legislative capital Sri Jayawardenapura as well to Colombo, the nation's administrative and business center.-Districts:Basnahira is divided into 3 districts:...

 in 1993 in a landslide election victory. Kumaratunga herself was elected Prime Minister of a People's Alliance
People's Alliance (Sri Lanka)
The People's Alliance is a front of political parties in Sri Lanka, formed in 1994.It comprises the following parties:* Sri Lanka Freedom Party* Lanka Sama Samaja Party* Communist Party of Sri Lanka* Sri Lanka Mahajana Party...

 (PA) government on 19 August 1994 and President in the presidential election
Sri Lankan presidential election, 1994
The Sri Lankan presidential election of 1994 was the third presidential election of Sri Lanka. Nominations were accepted on 7 October 1994, and the election was held on 9 November 1994. Electoral participation was 70.47%...

 held shortly thereafter in November. This ended 17 years of UNP
United National Party
The United National Party, often referred to as the UNP ), , is a political party in Sri Lanka. It currently is the main opposition party in Sri Lanka and is headed by Ranil Wickremesinghe...

 rule. She appointed her mother to succeed her as Prime Minister. Early in her term she made conciliatory moves towards the separatist Tamil Tigers
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam was a separatist militant organization formerly based in northern Sri Lanka. Founded in May 1976 by Vellupillai Prabhakaran, it waged a violent secessionist and nationalist campaign to create an independent state in the north and east of Sri Lanka for Tamil...

 to attempt to end the ongoing civil war. These overtures failed, and she later pursued a more military-based strategy against them.

Presidency


In October 1999 Kumaratunga called an early presidential election
Sri Lankan presidential election, 1999
The Sri Lankan presidential election of 1999 was the fourth presidential election of Sri Lanka. Nominations were accepted on 16 November 1999, and the election was held on 21 December 1999 Electoral participation was 73.31%...

. She lost vision in her right eye (permanent optic nerve damage) in an assassination attempt, by the separatist Tamil Tigers
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam was a separatist militant organization formerly based in northern Sri Lanka. Founded in May 1976 by Vellupillai Prabhakaran, it waged a violent secessionist and nationalist campaign to create an independent state in the north and east of Sri Lanka for Tamil...

, at her final election rally at Colombo
Colombo
Colombo is the largest city of Sri Lanka. It is located on the west coast of the island and adjacent to Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte, the capital of Sri Lanka. Colombo is often referred to as the capital of the country, since Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte is a satellite city of Colombo...

 Town Hall premises on 18 December 1999. President Kumaratunga defeated Ranil Wickremasinghe
Ranil Wickremasinghe
Ranil Shriyan Wickremesinghe , MP, is a Sri Lankan politician and current Leader of the Opposition in the Sri Lankan parliament. He was Prime Minister of Sri Lanka twice, from May 7, 1993 to August 19, 1994 and from December 9, 2001 to April 6, 2004...

 in the election held on 21 December and was sworn in for another term the next day.http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/574780.stm

In December 2001 she suffered a setback in the parliamentary election. Her People's Alliance
People's Alliance (Sri Lanka)
The People's Alliance is a front of political parties in Sri Lanka, formed in 1994.It comprises the following parties:* Sri Lanka Freedom Party* Lanka Sama Samaja Party* Communist Party of Sri Lanka* Sri Lanka Mahajana Party...

 lost to the UNP
United National Party
The United National Party, often referred to as the UNP ), , is a political party in Sri Lanka. It currently is the main opposition party in Sri Lanka and is headed by Ranil Wickremesinghe...

, and her political opponent Ranil Wickremasinghe
Ranil Wickremasinghe
Ranil Shriyan Wickremesinghe , MP, is a Sri Lankan politician and current Leader of the Opposition in the Sri Lankan parliament. He was Prime Minister of Sri Lanka twice, from May 7, 1993 to August 19, 1994 and from December 9, 2001 to April 6, 2004...

 took office as Sri Lanka's new Prime Minister. She continued as President of Sri Lanka
President of Sri Lanka
The President of Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is the elected head of state and the head of government. The President is a dominant political figure in Sri Lanka. The office was created in 1978 but has grown so powerful there have been calls to restrict or even eliminate its power...

 although her relationship with the Wickremasinghe government was a strained one.

In February 2002 Wickremasinghe's government and the LTTE signed a permanent ceasefire
Ceasefire
A ceasefire is a temporary stoppage of a war in which each side agrees with the other to suspend aggressive actions. Ceasefires may be declared as part of a formal treaty, but they have also been called as part of an informal understanding between opposing forces...

 agreement, paving the way for talks to end the long-running conflict. In December, the government and the rebels agreed to share power during peace talks in Norway. President Kumaratunga believed Wickremasinghe was being too lenient towards the LTTE. In May 2003 she indicated her willingness to sack the prime minister and government if she felt they were making too many concessions to the rebels. On 4 November 2003, while Prime Minister Wickremasinghe was on an official visit to the United States, Kumaratunga prorogued Parliament and assigned Defense Interior and Media ministries on her.

Kumaratunga's PA and the leftist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna
Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna
The Janathā Vimukthi Peramuṇa is a Marxist-Leninist, Communist political party in Sri Lanka. The party was involved in two armed uprisings against the ruling governments in 1971 and 1987-89...

 or JVP (People's Liberation Front) formed the United People's Freedom Alliance
United People's Freedom Alliance
The United People's Freedom Alliance is a political alliance in Sri Lanka. The current leader of the United People's Freedom Alliance is Mahinda Rajapaksa and Susil Premajayantha is the general secretary of UPFA.The alliance was formed by:...

 (UPFA) in January 2004 and dissolved Parliament. Having won the election
Sri Lankan parliamentary election, 2004
Parliamentary elections were held in Sri Lanka on 2 April 2004. The ruling United National Party of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was defeated, winning only eighty two seats in the 225-member Sri Lankan parliament. The opposition United People's Freedom Alliance won 105 seats...

 held on 2 April 2004 the UPFA formed a government with Mahinda Rajapaksa
Mahinda Rajapaksa
Percy Mahendra "Mahinda" Rajapaksa ; ; born November 18, 1945) is the 6th and current President of Sri Lanka and Commander in Chief of the Sri Lankan Armed Forces. A lawyer by profession, Rajapaksa was first elected to the Parliament of Sri Lanka in 1970, and served as prime minister from April 6,...

 as prime minister. This marked the first time in history that the JVP became a partner in a Sri Lankan government.

However, in June 2005, the JVP left her government over a disagreement regarding a joint mechanism with LTTE rebels to share foreign aid to rebuild the tsunami
2004 Indian Ocean earthquake
The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake was an undersea megathrust earthquake that occurred at 00:58:53 UTC on Sunday, December 26, 2004, with an epicentre off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. The quake itself is known by the scientific community as the Sumatra-Andaman earthquake...

-devastated Northern and Eastern areas of Sri Lanka.

Kumaratunga's six-year term ended in 2005. She argued that since the 1999 election had been held one year early, she should be allowed to serve that left-over year. Mahinda Rajapaksa succeeded her as president, leading all 25 parties in the UPFA.

President Chandrika Kumaratunga is a member of the Council of Women World Leaders
Council of Women World Leaders
The Council of Women World Leaders is a network of current and former women prime ministers and presidents established in 1996 by Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, President of Iceland and first woman in the world to be democratically elected president, and Laura Liswood, Secretary General...

, an International network of current and former women presidents and prime ministers whose mission is to mobilize the highest-level women leaders globally for collective action on issues of critical importance to women and equitable development.

Kumaratunga was recently (Nov 2009) appointed to the 12 member Board of Directors of the Club of Madrid
Club of Madrid
The Club de Madrid is an independent non-profit organization created to promote democracy and change in the international community. Composed of 80 former Presidents and Prime Ministers from 56 countries, the Club de Madrid is the world’s largest forum of former Heads of State and Government.Among...

. She is a frequent panellist and advisor to the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI)
Clinton Foundation
The William J. Clinton Foundation is a foundation established by former President of the United States Bill Clinton with the stated mission to "strengthen the capacity of people throughout the world to meet the challenges of global interdependence." The Foundation focuses on four critical areas:...

 annual meeting held every September and is a member of the CGI.

Aftermath of presidency


Kumaratunga noted recently in 2007 "I sincerely tried to reach a political consensus to solve the ethnic question, and tried to introduce a pluralistic constitution that would cater to the political aspirations of the Tamil people without dividing the country".

On 2009 September, Kumaratunga, was on a personal visit to Kerala, India told reporters
"I too care for my life.Even though the current government is a government of my party (Sri Lanka Freedom Party) I don't feel safe,". "There is an overall lack of freedom and an atmosphere of fear prevails in the country.The basic rights of the people and media freedom are restricted in Sri Lanka"

Family life


Chandrika married movie star and politician Vijaya Kumaratunga
Vijaya Kumaratunga
Kovilage Anton Vijaya Kumaranatunga was a popular Sri Lankan film actor and politician, married to former Sri Lankan president Chandrika Kumaratunga from 1978 to his assassination in 1988.- Family life :In 1978, Kumaratunga married Chandrika Bandaranaike, daughter of the...

 in 1978. Vijaya Kumaratunga was assassinated on 16 February 1988, outside his residence in the presence of Chandrika and their two children then aged 5 years and 7 years. The extremist Marxist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna
Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna
The Janathā Vimukthi Peramuṇa is a Marxist-Leninist, Communist political party in Sri Lanka. The party was involved in two armed uprisings against the ruling governments in 1971 and 1987-89...

 (JVP) claimed responsibility for this act. Vijaya Kumaratunga's funeral, remains to date, the largest attended funeral of any politician or film idol in Sri Lanka (and potentially in the whole of Asia).
Their two children Yasodhara Kumaratunga Walker (born 1980) is a Medical Doctor (Corpus Christi College, University of Cambridge
University of Cambridge
The University of Cambridge is a public research university located in Cambridge, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest university in both the United Kingdom and the English-speaking world , and the seventh-oldest globally...

 and St George's Medical School, University of London
University of London
-20th century:Shortly after 6 Burlington Gardens was vacated, the University went through a period of rapid expansion. Bedford College, Royal Holloway and the London School of Economics all joined in 1900, Regent's Park College, which had affiliated in 1841 became an official divinity school of the...

) and Vimukthi Kumaratunga (born 1982) is a Veterinary Surgeon
Veterinary surgeon
Veterinary surgeon is a term used to describe:*The full title of a vet, who treats disease, disorder and injury in animals, in the United Kingdom and several Commonwealth countries**See also Veterinary medicine in the United Kingdom...

 University of Bristol
University of Bristol
The University of Bristol is a public research university located in Bristol, United Kingdom. One of the so-called "red brick" universities, it received its Royal Charter in 1909, although its predecessor institution, University College, Bristol, had been in existence since 1876.The University is...

, UK .President Kumaratunga's sister Sunethra Bandaranaike
Sunethra Bandaranaike
Sunethra Bandaranaike is a Sri Lankan philanthropist and a socialite.She is the eldest daughter of former Prime Ministers Solomon West Ridgeway Dias Bandaranaike and Sirimavo Ratwatte Dias Bandaranaike and sister of former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga and former Speaker Anura...

 is a well known philanthropist and runs the Sunera Trust. Her brother Anura Bandaranaike
Anura Bandaranaike
Anura Priyadarshi Solomon Dias Bandaranaike was a Sri Lankan politician, served as Speaker , and in several cabinet ministries as Foreign Minister briefly in 2005, Minister of Higher Education , Minister of Tourism , Minister of National Heritage and Leader of the Opposition...

 passed away in March 2008.

External links


|-