Anura Bandaranaike

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Anura Bandaranaike
Leader of the Opposition
In office
8 November 1983 – 20 December 1988
President J. R. Jayewardene
Prime Minister Ranasinghe Premadasa
Preceded by A. Amirthalingam
Succeeded by Sirimavo Bandaranaike
16th Speaker of the Parliament
In office
18 October 2000 – 10 October 2001
President Chandrika Kumaratunga
Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake
Preceded by Kiri Banda Ratnayake
Succeeded by Joseph Michael Perera
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Higher Education, Tourism and National Heritage
Member of the Sri Lanka Parliament
for Nuwara Eliya-Maskeliya
In office
21 July 1977 – 15 February 1989
Preceded by Constituency established
Succeeded by Constituency abolished
Personal details
Born February 15, 1949
Attanagalla, Sri Lanka
Died 16 March 2008(2008-03-16) (aged 59)
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Nationality Sri Lankan
Political party Sri Lanka Freedom Party
Occupation Politician
Religion Buddhist

Anura Priyadarshi Solomon Dias Bandaranaike (February 15, 1949 – March 16, 2008) was a Sri Lankan politician, served as Speaker (2000–2001), and in several cabinet ministries as Foreign Minister briefly in 2005, Minister of Higher Education (1993–1994), Minister of Tourism (April 2004 – January 2007), Minister of National Heritage (2007) and Leader of the Opposition (1983–1988). He last served as a member of parliament from the opposition.

Early life

He was the son of former Prime Ministers Solomon West Ridgeway Dias Bandaranaike and Sirimavo Ratwatte Dias Bandaranaike and the younger brother of former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga and Sunethra Bandaranaike, philanthropist. His father, Solomon, while serving as prime minister, was assassinated when Bandaranaike was 10 years old.

His family has a long history in the socio-political arena of the country. His grandfather, Sir Solomon Dias Bandaranike was the Maha Mudaliyar (the chief native interpreter and advisor to the Governor) during British colonial rule. Despite these family connections, Bandaranaike missed the chance of becoming the President of Sri Lanka on several occasions.

Bandaranaike completed his primary education at Royal Preparatory School and secondary education at the Royal College, Colombo. He then pursued further studies at the University of London where he studied History and Political Science.

Political career

Bandaranaike was elected to Parliament in 1977 from the Maskeliya multi-seat constituency representing the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) although it faced a crushing defeat that year and has been a member of parliament up until his death in 2008. Became the leader of the opposition from 1983 to 1988.In 1989 general elections he contested to Gampaha District and became a MP with a preferential votes over onehundred thousand. He was suspended from his family's party by his mother Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike[1] and in 1993 he left SLFP to join the United National Party (UNP),which appointed him as a national list member of parliament and he served as Minister of Higher Education from 1993 to 1994. In 1994 his sister Chandrika Kumarathunga became the state leader and Anura always felt that Chandrika stole his legecy.[1] Serving in the opposition from 1994 to 2000 as a National List MP, he contested under the UNP ticket to Gampaha District at the 2000 General Elections and was reelected to the Parliament securing over 80000 preferential votes. He was uncontestedly elected as Speaker of the 11th Parliament and is considered as the most unbiased speaker in the parliament since independence. He rejoined SLFP in 2001 to contest the elections in December that year, although the SLFP with its coalition faced a massive defeat Bandaranaike was elected to Parliament. When the SLFP led alliance of UPFA won the elections in 2004 with support of the JVP, Bandaranaike was reelected as a MP to the Gampaha District and became Minister of Tourism, Industry and Investment in the new government. Following the assassination of foreign minister Lakshman Kadirgamar in August 2005, Bandaranaike was appointed as Foreign Minister, amidst increased tension throughout the country. He dropped his position as minister of industry and investment, but remained tourism minister. The party chose Mahinda Rajapakse over Bandaranaike as its candidate for the presidential election in 2005. Following Rajapakse's election victory it had been widely predicted that Bandaranaike would be appointed Prime Minister or remain as foreign minister.

However he was accused of playing a "negative"/"non supportive" role in the campaign and was offered only the tourism ministry instead.Even before the presidential elections in 2005, Anura was diagnosed to have a cancer.[1] He recovered from the initial shock of the bad news but never recovered from the shock of having to accept the toothles National Heritage Portfolio in a cabinet reshuffle in January 2007.[1] On 9 February 2007, he was sacked as the minister of national heritage, together with ministers Mangala Samaraweera and Sripathi Sooriyarachchi after falling out with the President Mahinda Rajapakse, the party leader. Less than two weeks later, after reconciling with Rajapakse, Bandaranaike agreed to come back into the government, again being sworn in as Minister of National Heritage. On the 14 December 2007 he crossed over to the opposition benches thus leaving his ministerial posts. Despite being in politics for over a quarter of a century, he has only been in a governing side for about 5 years.[2][3][4]


He died on 16 March 2008 in Colombo at his official residence, Visumpaya following a period of prolonged illness due to the cancer that had been dignosed few years ago for which he was hospitalized for several months. A few weeks prior to his death, he had taken 3 months leave from parliament.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Shamindra Fernando.Close friend's reminisce how he missed the bus.Anura's dropped catches.The Island.Available online.
  2. "FM chosen from Sri Lankan dynasty". BBC News. 22 August 2005.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Sri Lanka ruling party sparks fly". BBC News. 13 September 2005.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Anura: Boycott Burmese products". BBC News. 30 September 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
K. B. Ratnayake
Speaker of the Parliament
Succeeded by
Joseph Michael Perera
Preceded by
Lakshman Kadirgamar
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka
Succeeded by
Mangala Samaraweera