Sri Lanka Red Cross Society,
No. 104 Dharmapala Mawatha,
Colombo 07, Sri Lanka.
[T] (94) 11 2691095 , (94) 11 2691095
[F] (94) 11 2682675
Government of Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is a democratic, socialist republic and a unitary state which is governed by a semi-presidential system, with a mixture of a presidential system and a parliamentary system. It constitutes a parliamentary system governed under the Constitution of Sri Lanka. Most provisions of the Constitution of Sri Lanka can be amended by a two-thirds majority in Parliament of Sri Lanka. However, the amendment of certain basic features such as the clauses on language, religion, and reference to Sri Lanka as a unitary state require both a two-thirds majority and approval at a nation-wide referendum.
Executive: 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. 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 2.
Legislative: 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. President’s deputy, the Prime Minister, leads the ruling party in parliament and shares many executive responsibilities, mainly in domestic affairs.
Judicial: Sri Lanka’s judiciary consists of a Supreme Court – the highest and final superior court of record, 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.