DM, new PM
Veteran politician and SLFP stalwart D.M. Jayaratne was sworn-in as
the country’s new Prime Minister before President Mahinda Rajapaksa at a
simple ceremony held at Temple Trees yesterday.
Senior politicians representing the SLFP and its allied parties
participated in the oath-taking ceremony. He is the second Prime
Minister of Independent Sri Lanka to represent the Kandy District.
He is the Senior Vice President of SLFP who joined the party on
September 2, 1951, the very date, the SLFP was inaugurated by its leader
and former Prime Minister S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike. Dissanayake
Mudiyanselage Jayaratne is the oldest living founder member of the party
and his membership number is 13.
Born on June 4, 1931, Jayaratne received his primary education from
the Doluwa Maha Vidyalaya and secondary education at the Gampola Zahira
College and Gandhi College, Kandy and was appointed a teacher for some
He was a crusader for the party’s victory and faced numerous problems
due to his loyalty to the party and its leadership. He helped former
Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike at times when the party was in
He was elected member of Kandukara Pahala Village Committee and
subsequently became its Chairman. He was the Chairman of Village
Committee Members’ Association in the Kandy District and became its
national President within a very short period.
D.M. Jayaratne contested the Gampola electorate under the SLFP ticket
at the 1970 General Election and made his debut appearance in
Parliament. He was a member of the committee to investigate the working
of River Valleys Development Board during the time of Prime Minister
Dudley Senanayake in 1976.
D.M. Jayaratne held the portfolio of Agriculture and Forestry under
the People’s Alliance Government headed by former President Chandrika
Following the election in 2000 he was appointed Agriculture, Food and
Co-operatives Minister. With the General Election victory of the PA in
2004, he was appointed Minister of Post and Telecommunication and
Upcountry Development and later in 2005 he was appointed Minister of
Post and Telecommunication and Rural Economic Development under
President Mahinda Rajapaksa. From 2007 to-date he has been the Minister
of Plantation Industries.
In 2001 he was elected Chairman of the Asia Pacific Region of Food
and Agriculture Organization.
Jayaratne is the 20th Prime Minister of the Democratic Socialist
Republic of Sri Lanka.
Jayaratne secured the highest votes from the Kandy District at the
1989 General Election and entered the Legislature after his defeat at
the 1977 General Election.
JHU Leader Ven Ellawala Medhananda Thera, former Prime Minister
Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka, UPFA General Secretary Susil Premajayanth,
Senior Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapaksa and the family members of
D.M. Jayaratne were present.