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Government in Sri Lanka
 
 
 

General

The Constitution of Sri Lanka establishes a democratic, socialist republic in Sri Lanka, which is also a unitary state. The government is a mixture of the presidential system and the parliamentary system.

The President of Sri Lanka is the head of state, the commander in chief of the armed forces, as well as head of government, and is popularly elected for a six-year term. In the exercise of duties, the president is responsible to the parliament. the president appoints and heads a cabinet of ministers composed of elected members of parliament. the president is immune from legal proceedings while in office in respect of any acts done or omitted to be done by him either in his official or private capacity. With the 18th amendment to the constitution in 2010, the president has no term limit, which previously stood at two.

The Parliament of Sri Lanka, is a unicameral 225-member legislature with 196 members elected in multi-seat constituencies and 29 by proportional representation. Members are elected by universal (adult) suffrage based on a modified proportional representation system by district to a six-year term. The president may summon, suspend, or end a legislative session and dissolve parliament any time after it has served for one year. The parliament reserves the power to make all laws. The president's deputy, the prime minister, leads the ruling party in parliament and shares many executive responsibilities, mainly in domestic affairs.

Sri Lanka's judiciary consists of a Supreme Court, a Court of Appeal, High Courts and a number of subordinate courts. Its highly complex legal system reflects diverse cultural influences. The Criminal law is almost entirely based on British law. Basic Civil law relates to the Roman law and Dutch law. Laws pertaining to marriage, divorce, and inheritance are communal. Due to ancient customary practices and/or religion, the Sinhala customary law (Kandyan law), the Thesavalamai and the Sharia law too are followed on special cases. The president appoints judges to the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal, and the High Courts. A judicial service commission, composed of the Chief Justice and two Supreme Court judges, appoints, transfers, and dismisses lower court judges.

Overview

Country name : conventional long form: Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
conventional short form: Sri Lanka
local long form: Shri Lanka Prajatantrika Samajavadi Janarajaya/Ilankai Jananayaka Choshalichak Kutiyarachu
local short form: Shri Lanka/Ilankai
former: Serendib, Ceylon
Government type : republic
Capital

: name: Colombo
geographic coordinates: 6 55 N, 79 50 E
time difference: UTC+5.5 (10.5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
note: Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte (legislative capital)
Administrative divisions : 9 provinces; Central, Eastern, North Central, Northern, North Western, Sabaragamuwa, Southern, Uva, Western
Independence : 4 February 1948 (from the UK)
National holiday : Independence Day, 4 February (1948)
Constitution : adopted 16 August 1978, certified 31 August 1978; amended 20 December 2001
Legal system
: mixed legal system of Roman-Dutch civil law, English common law, and Jaffna Tamil customary law
International law organisation participation : has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
Suffrage : 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch
: chief of state: President Mahinda Percy Rajapaksa (since 19 November 2005); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government; Dissanayake Mudiyanselage Jayaratne holds the largely ceremonial title of prime minister (since 21 April 2010)
head of government: President Mahinda Percy Rajapaksa (since 19 November 2005)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president in consultation with the prime minister
elections: president elected by popular vote for a six-year term, eligible for a second term; election last held on 26 January 2010 (next to be held in 2016)
election results: Mahinda Rajapaksa re-elected president for second term; percent of vote - Mahinda Rajapaksa 57.88%, Sarath Fonseka 40.15%, other 1.97%
Legislative branch

: unicameral Parliament (225 seats; members elected by popular vote on the basis of an open-list, proportional representation system by electoral district to serve six-year terms)
elections: last held on 8 April 2010 with a re-poll in two electorates held on 20 April 2010 (next to be held by April 2016)
election results: percent of vote by alliance or party - United People's Freedom Alliance 60.93%, United National Party 29.34%, Democratic National Alliance 5.49%, Tamil National Alliance 2.9%, other 1.94%; seats by alliance or party - United People's Freedom Alliance 144, United National Party 60, Tamil National Alliance 14, Democratic National Alliance 7
Judicial branch : Supreme Court; Court of Appeals; judges for both courts are appointed by the president
Political parties and leaders

: Coalitions and leaders: Democratic National Alliance, led by General (Retired) Sarath Fonseka; Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna or JVP [Somawansa Amarasinghe]; Tamil National Alliance led by Illandai Tamil Arasu Kachchi [R. Sampanthan]; United National Front led by United National Party [Ranil Wickremesinghe]; United People's Freedom Alliance led by Sri Lanka Freedom Party [Mahinda Rajapaksa]
Political pressure groups and leaders
: Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam or LTTE [P. Sivaparan, Chief of International Secretariat; V. Rudrakumaran, legal advisor]; note - this insurgent group suffered military defeat in May 2009; some cadres remain scattered throughout country, but there have not been any incidents in Sri Lanka since May 2009
other: Buddhist clergy; labour unions; hard-line nationalist Sinhalese groups such as the National Movement Against Terrorism; Sinhalese Buddhist lay groups
International organisation participation
: ABEDA, ADB, ARF, BIMSTEC, C, CD, CP, FAO, G-11, G-15, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, MINURSO, MINUSTAH, MONUSCO, NAM, OAS (observer), OPCW, PCA, SAARC, SACEP, SCO (dialogue member), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNISFA, UNMISS, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US
: chief of mission: Ambassador Jaliya Chitran Wickramasuriya
chancery: 2148 Wyoming Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 483-4025 through 4028
fax: [1] (202) 232-7181
consulate(s) general: Los Angeles
consulate(s): New York
Diplomatic representation from the US
: chief of mission: Ambassador Michele J. Sison
embassy: 210 Galle Road, Colombo 3
mailing address: P. O. Box 106, Colombo
telephone: [94] (11) 249-8500
fax: [94] (11) 243-7345
Flag description : yellow with two panels; the smaller hoist-side panel has two equal vertical bands of green (hoist side) and orange; the other larger panel depicts a yellow lion holding a sword on a dark red rectangular field that also displays a yellow bo leaf in each corner; the yellow field appears as a border around the entire flag and extends between the two panels; the lion represents Sinhalese ethnicity, the strength of the nation, and bravery; the sword demonstrates the sovereignty of the nation; the four bo leaves - symbolising Buddhism and its influence on the country - stand for the four virtues of kindness, friendliness, happiness, and equanimity; orange signifies Sri Lankan Tamils, green the Sri Lankan Moors; dark red represents the European Burghers, but also refers to the rich colonial background of the country; yellow denotes other ethnic groups; also referred to as the Lion Flag
National symbol(s) : lion
National anthem : name: "Sri Lanka Matha" (Mother Sri Lanka)
lyrics/music: Ananda Samarkone
note: adopted 1951
 

 
 

 



 


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