Sri Lanka Government, Constitution, Flag, and Leaders


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Sri Lanka Government

Browse the listing below to find government information for Sri Lanka, including flags, leaders, and constitution information. Factrover also has complete information on Sri Lanka at its Sri Lanka Country Page.

  • Sri Lanka People
  • Sri Lanka Geography
  • Sri Lanka Economy
  • Sri Lanka History

    Type: Republic.
    Independence: February 4, 1948.
    Constitution: August 31, 1978.
    Suffrage: Universal over 18.
    Branches: Executive--president, chief of state and head of government, elected for a 6-year term. Legislative--Unicameral 225-member Parliament. Judicial--Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, High Court, Subordinate Courts.
    Administrative subdivisions: Nine provinces and 25 administrative districts. (The northern and eastern provinces, however, have been technically jointly administered since 1988.)
    Political parties: United National Party, Sri Lanka Freedom Party, Communist Party of Sri Lanka, Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna, several ethnic Tamil and Muslim parties, and others.

    Government of Sri Lanka
    Per the 1978 Constitution, the president of the republic, directly elected for a 6-year term, is chief of state, head of government, and commander in chief of the armed forces. Responsible to Parliament for the exercise of duties under the constitution and laws, the president may be removed from office by a two-thirds vote of Parliament with the concurrence of the Supreme Court.

    The president appoints and heads a cabinet of ministers responsible to Parliament. The president's deputy is the prime minister, who leads the ruling party in Parliament. A parliamentary no-confidence vote requires dissolution of the cabinet and the appointment of a new one by the president.

    Parliament is a unicameral 225-member legislature elected by universal suffrage and proportional representation to a 6-year term. The president may summon, suspend, or end a legislative session and dissolve Parliament. Parliament reserves the power to make all laws.

    The 1978 Constitution clearly envisaged a system where the president and the prime minister were from the same party. Since the December 2001 Parliamentary elections, however, the President and the Prime Minister have been from different parties. This has led to serious cohabitation strains. In November 2003, for example, President Kumaratunga suddenly took over three key ministries (Defense, Interior, and Mass Communications), precipitating the most serious cohabitation crisis yet between the two sides. As of January 2004, the impasse between the President and the Prime Minister had not yet been resolved.

    Sri Lanka's judiciary consists of a Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, High Court, and a number of subordinate courts. Sri Lanka's legal system reflects diverse cultural influences. Criminal law is fundamentally British. Basic civil law is Roman-Dutch. Laws pertaining to marriage, divorce, and inheritance are communal.

    Under the Indo-Sri Lankan Accord of July 1987--and the resulting 13th amendment to the constitution--the Government of Sri Lanka agreed to devolve significant authority to the provinces. Provincial councils are directly elected for 5-year terms. The leader of the council majority serves as the province's chief minister; a provincial governor is appointed by the president. The councils possess limited powers in education, health, rural development, social services, agriculture, security, and local taxation. Many of these powers are shared or subject to central government oversight. Predating the accord are municipal, urban, and rural councils with limited powers.


  • Sri Lanka People
  • Sri Lanka Geography
  • Sri Lanka Economy
  • Sri Lanka History