Ranil Shriyan Wickremesinghe, MP (born March 24, 1949) is a Sri Lankan politician and current Leader of the Opposition. He was Prime Minister of Sri Lanka twice, from May 7, 1993 to August 19, 1994 and from December 9, 2001 to April 6, 2004. A member of the United National Party he was appointed as party leader in November 1994. He is also the leader of the United National Front, been appointed as the head of the alliance in October 2009.
Ranil Shriyan Wickremasinghe is the second son of Esmond and Nalini Wickremasinghe. Esmond Wickremasinghe was a press baron, an ex-Samasamajist and supremo of the Lake House group of newspapers. His paternal uncle Lakshman Wickremasinghe was a Bishop of the Church of Sri Lanka. His maternal line consisted of newspaper barons and landowners, the Wijewardenas, who were Sinhala Buddhists. His maternal grandfather was D. R. Wijewardena, the founder of the Lake House publishing empire a pro-independence activist and a financier of the independence movement. He was a nephew of J.R. Jayewardene, later President of Sri Lanka.
Wickremesinghe was educated at Royal College, Colombo where he was a classmate and a good friend of Anura Bandaranaike, son of then Prime Minister Solomon Bandaranaike and Dinesh Gunawardena, son of socialist leader Philip Gunawardena. Wickremasinghe entered the Faculty of Law at the University of Ceylon, Colombo campus (now University of Colombo). After graduation he completed the law exams at the Sri Lanka Law College and took oaths as an advocate in 1972. Of all the Presidents and Prime Ministers of Sri Lanka, Wickremesinghe is the only person to graduate from a local university, the remainder either not attending university or having degrees from foreign universities. (more…)