President of Sri Lanka

head of state and government

The President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka (Sinhala: ශ්‍රී ලංකා ජනාධිපති Śrī Laṃkā Janādhipathi; Tamil: இலங்கை சனாதிபதி Ilankai janātipati) is the executive head of state and head of government of Sri Lanka and commander-in-chief of the Sri Lankan Armed Forces.

President of Sri Lanka
ශ්‍රී ලංකා ජනාධිපති
Ranil Wickremesinghe

since 13 July 2022
StyleThe Honourable
His Excellency
(Formal and diplomatic)
Member ofCabinet
National Security Council
ResidencePresident's House (de jure)
61 Paget Road, Colombo 7 (de facto)[1][2]
AppointerDirect election
Term lengthFive years, renewable once
Constituting instrumentConstitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
PrecursorGovernor-General of Ceylon
Inaugural holderWilliam Gopallawa
as the first President under
the 1972 Constitution

J. R. Jayewardene
as the first executive President under
the 1978 Constitution
Formation22 May 1972; 52 years ago (1972-05-22)
4 February 1978; 46 years ago (1978-02-04)
SalaryLKR 1,170,000 annually (2016) (≈ $ 7,640) [3]
Presidential Secretariat

The office was created in 1972 as the head of state and becoming the head of government in 1978. The office is the single most dominant political office in the country.

List of presidents


  UNP   Sri Lanka Freedom Party   Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna   Independent

Portrait Name
Home province
Term of office
Electoral mandates
Time in office
Other ministerial offices
held while president
Political party
of president
Government Refs
1 William Gopallawa
විලියම් ගොපල්ලව
வில்லியம் கோபள்ளவா
22 May
4 February
Independent Sirimavo Bandaranaike II 10th [4]
5 years, 8 months and 13 days
Served as the last Governor-General of Ceylon and the first (non-executive) President when Ceylon declared itself a republic in 1972, and changed its name to Sri Lanka.
2   Junius Richard Jayewardene
ජුනියස් රිචඩ් ජයවර්ධන
ஜூனியஸ் ரிச்சட் ஜயவர்தனா
4 February
2 January
Minister of Defence
Minister of Planning & Economic Affairs
Minister of Plan Implementation
& Minister of Higher Education
United National Party Jayewardene 11th
10 years, 11 months and 29 days
Introduced the Executive Presidency in 1978, and assumed the position of president of Sri Lanka.[5]
3   Sri Lankabhimanya
Ranasinghe Premadasa
රණසිංහ ප්‍රේමදාස
ரணசிங்க பிரேமதாசா
2 January
1 May
Minister of Defence
Minister of Buddha Sasana
& Minister of Minister of Policy Planning & Implementation
United National Party Premadasa 13th [4]
4 years and 4 months
Was assassinated during a May Day rally, by an LTTE suicide bomber.
4   Sri Lankabhimanya
Dingiri Banda Wijetunga
ඩිංගිරි බණ්ඩා විජේතුංග
டிங்கிரி பண்ட விஜேதுங்க
1 May
12 November
United National Party Wijetunga 13th [4]
 — 14th
1 year, 6 months and 10 days
Prime Minister at the time of Ranasinghe Premadasa's assassination by LTTE. Appointed as acting president and continued in that capacity until 7 May 1993 when he was elected by Parliament to the office of president under Article 40 of the Constitution.
5   Chandrika Kumaratunga
චන්ද්‍රිකා බණ්ඩාරනායක කුමාරතුංග
சந்திரிகா பண்டாரநாயக்கே குமாரதுங்கா
12 November
19 November
Sri Lanka Freedom Party Kumaratunga 14th
1994, 1999 16th
11 years and 7 days 17th
The first non UNP president of the country. Appointed her mother, Sirimavo Bandaranaike, to succeed her as prime minister. Victim of multiple assassination attempts by LTTE, which were all unsuccessful.


  Mahinda Rajapaksa
මහින්ද රාජපක්ෂ
மகிந்த ராசபக்ச
19 November
9 January
Minister of Defence
Minister of Finance
Minister of Law & Order
& Minister of Highways, Ports & Shipping
Sri Lanka Freedom Party Rajapaksa 17th
2005, 2010
9 years, 1 month and 21 days
Ended the 25-year-long Sri Lankan Civil War and LTTE insurgency in the country. Alleged war crimes during the final stages of the Sri Lankan Civil War, Infrastructure Development, Feud with Sarath Fonseka, Eighteenth Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution, Impeachment of Shirani Bandaranayake, Defeated in 2015 elections.
7   Maithripala Sirisena
මෛත්‍රීපාල සිරිසේන
மைத்திரிபால சிறிசேன
North Central
9 January
18 November
Minister of Defence
Minister of Mahaweli Development and Environment
Sri Lanka Freedom Party[N 1] Sirisena
(UNP backed coalition)
18th [4]
2015 19th
4 years, 10 months and 9 days
Defeated Rajapaksa in his bid for unprecedented third term. Mainly backed by United National Party and other opposition parties nominated under New Democratic Front (Sri Lanka). Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka.100-day reform program. Reinstated Shirani Bandaranayake as Chief Justice. Promoted Sarath Fonseka to the rank of Field Marshal. Reset foreign relations with India and the United States.
8   Gotabaya Rajapaksa
ගෝඨාභය රාජපක්ෂ
கோட்டாபய ராஜபக்ச
18 November
14 July
Minister of Defence
Minister of Technology
Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna Gotabaya Rajapaksa I
Gotabaya Rajapaksa II
20th [4]
2 years, 7 months and 25 days
Appointed Mahinda Rajapaksa in 2019 as the prime minister after the resignation of Ranil Wickremesinghe. Reappointed Wickremesinghe in 2022, after the resignation of Mahinda Rajapaksa amidst anti-government protests which demanded his resignation. He promised he would resign on 13 July 2022, however he did not and instead fled the country. He would officially resign the following day. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe began serving as acting president when Rajapaksa left the country on 13 July. On 14 July, Rajapaksa resigned from presidency.[6]
9   Ranil Wickremesinghe
රනිල් වික්‍රමසිංහ
ரணில் விக்ரமசிங்க
13 July
Incumbent Prime Minister United National Party TBA 20th
1 year, 11 months and 21 days
Succeeded to presidency in an acting capacity following Gotabaya Rajapaksa fleeing the country amidst the 2022 Sri Lankan political crisis on 13 July, despite Rajapaksa officially resigning on 14 July. He was elected to complete Rajapaksa's term on 20 July 2022.[7]

Living former presidents

President Term of office Date of birth
Chandrika Kumaratunga 1994–2005
4025 days
(1945-06-29) June 29, 1945 (age 79)
Mahinda Rajapaksa 2005–2015
3338 days
(1945-11-18) November 18, 1945 (age 78)
Maithripala Sirisena 2015–2019
1774 days
(1951-09-03) September 3, 1951 (age 72)
Gotabaya Rajapaksa 2019–2022
969 days
(1949-06-20) June 20, 1949 (age 75)
  1. Elected as a New Democratic Front candidate.


  1. "President Justifies Rs 180 M Budget For Repairs His Residence". Colombo Telegraph. 7 October 2015. Retrieved 30 August 2017.
  2. Hemmathagama, Ashwin (26 June 2015). "PM makes mockery of MR privileges claims". Daily Financial Times Sri Lanka. Retrieved 30 August 2017.
  3. Thomas, Kris (21 November 2016). "Of Ministers' Salaries And Parliamentary Perks". Retrieved 30 August 2017.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 "Heads of State". Parliament of Sri Lanka. Retrieved 29 December 2013.
  5. "Former Sri Lanka president dies, leaves mixed legacy". CNN. 1 November 1996. Retrieved 4 October 2008.[dead link]
  6. "President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Resigns". Hiru News. 14 July 2022. Retrieved 14 July 2022.
  7. Stepansky, Joseph (20 July 2022). "Sri Lanka live news: Ranil Wickremesinghe elected president". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 20 July 2022.