Kumaratunga, Chandrika Bandaranaike

Kumaratunga, Chandrika Bandaranaike

(chŭn`drēkə bändränī`kē ko͞omär'əto͝ong`gə), 1945–, Sri Lankan politician, president of Sri Lanka (1994–2005). The daughter of two former prime ministers, the assassinated (1959) Solomon BandaranaikeBandaranaike, Solomon West Ridgeway Dias,
1899–1959, prime minister (1956–59) of Ceylon (later Sri Lanka); husband of Sirimavo Bandaranaike. A lawyer educated in England, he entered politics and rose to hold a cabinet position.
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 and his wife, Sirimavo BandaranaikeBandaranaike, Sirimavo
, 1916–2000, Sri Lankan political leader, b. Sirimavo Ratwatte. She and her husband, S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike, converted to Buddhism from Christianity before he became prime minister of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) in 1956.
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, and the widow of Vijaya Kumartunga, another slain (1988) political leader, she is an economist and a member of the Sri Lanka Freedom party, the main party in the People's Alliance (PA; now the United People's Freedom Alliance). In 1994 she became chief minister of Sri Lanka's Western Province and, after the PA's election victory ended 17 years of rule by the United National party, became prime minister of Sri Lanka. Later in 1994 she was elected president, and her mother succeeded her as prime minister. In 1999 she was injured in a suicide bombing during a campaign rally; she won a second term by a narrow margin. Kumaratunga worked unsuccessfully to find a solution to the long and bloody war with the Tamils, but after the United National party won control of parliament in late 2001 she opposed its attempts to resolve the war.
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