Political System of Sri Lanka

The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka provides for a presidential system of government. Under the political system of Sri Lanka the president is the head of state, head of government, head of cabinet and the commander in- chief of the armed forces.

The president is elected by the people for a term of six years and is entitled for re-elections for two consecutive terms. An outstanding feature of the political system of Sri Lanka is the enormous size of its cabinets whereby the constitution assigns 28 ministerial level portfolios which includes two held by the president.

Functions of the President

The president of Sri Lanka holds the most important national office and is accountable to the parliament. Major functions of the president include:

  • Appoints the prime minister with the approval of the parliament
  • Select members of cabinet in consultation with the prime minister and also presides over their deliberations
  • The president can dissolve parliament at any point of time and call for fresh elections.
  • Declarations of war and peace in Sri Lanka
  • During a public emergency the president can enact measures without parliamentary approval.

The president of Sri Lanka at present is Mrs. Chandrika Kumaratunga.

Headed by a Chief Justice, the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka consists between six to eight associate justices. The president appoints the justices of the Supreme Court and High Court. The grounds under which superior court justices can be removed are incompetence or misconduct. Justice of the High Court can only be removed by a Judicial Service Commission comprising of Supreme Court Justices. The Supreme Court has the authority of judicial review and can also order a referendum on special issues concerning national significance.


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