Communist Party of Sri Lanka

The Communist Party of Sri Lanka (Sinhala: ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ කොමියුනිස්ට් පක්ෂය, romanized: Sri Lankavay Komiyunist Pakshaya Tamil: இலங்கை கம்யூனிஸ்ட் கட்சி, romanized: Ilankai Komyunist Katche) is a communist party in Sri Lanka. At the legislative elections of 2004, the party was part of the United People's Freedom Alliance that won 45.6% of the popular vote and 105 out of 225 seats.

Communist Party of Sri Lanka
ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ කොමියුනිස්ට් පක්ෂය
இலங்கை கம்யூனிஸ்ட் கட்சி
General SecretaryDr. G. Weerasinghe
FounderS. A. Wickramasinghe
Split fromLanka Sama Samaja Party
Preceded byUnited Socialist Party (Ceylon)
Headquarters91 Dr. N.M. Perera Mawatha,
Colombo 08, Sri Lanka.
NewspaperAththa (meaning 'Truth'), Forward (Sri Lanka), Deshabhimani (Sri Lanka)
Youth wingCommunist Youth Federation
Membership (1960)1900 [1]
Political positionFar-left
National affiliationSri Lanka People's Freedom Alliance formerly:
United Front (Sri Lanka)
United Left Front (1963)
International affiliationIMCWP[2]
Parliament of Sri Lanka
1 / 225
Election symbol
Party flag
South Asian Communist Banner.svg


Communist Youth Federation

The CPSL was founded as the Communist Party of Ceylon in 1943, and was a continuation of the United Socialist Party. The USP had been formed out of the pro-Soviet Union wing of the Lanka Sama Samaja Party. The USP was proscribed by the colonial authorities.

The USP and then the CPC were initially led by Dr. S. A. Wickramasinghe.

In 1952 Wickremesinghe's wife, the English-born Doreen Young Wickremasinghe, a former leader of the Suriya-Mal Movement, was elected to the Sri Lankan parliament.

In 1963 the Communist Party, Lanka Sama Samaja Party and the Mahajana Eksath Peramuna formed the United Left Front (1963). The ULF broke down in 1964 when the then Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike offered ministerial posts to LSSP and the CP.

In the mid-1960s the U.S. State Department estimated the party membership to be approximately 1900.[1]

In 1968, the CP joined the LSSP and the SLFP in the United Front. In the 1970 government, Pieter Keuneman became Minister of Housing and Construction and B. Y. Tudawe, Deputy Minister of Education. However, one faction of the party, led by S. A. Wickremasinghe and Indika Gunawardena, maintained a line of critical support for the government.

After the general election of 1977, for the first time in half a century, the CPSL found itself without parliamentary representation, receiving about 2% of the vote. However, after a subsequent election petition, Sarath Muttetuwegama was elected to the Kalawana seat in a by-election.

Later CPSL joined the People's Alliance, the front led by the Sri Lanka Freedom Party. When SLFP shelved the PA and formed the United People's Freedom Alliance together with Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna ahead of the 2004 elections, CPSL and LSSP initially stayed out. They did, however, sign a memorandum with the UPFA at a later stage and contested the elections on the UPFA platform. CPSL does not, however, consider itself a member of UPFA.

The CPSL had one member of parliament in 2004, party general secretary D.E.W. Gunasekara. Gunasekara expected to become the speaker of the Sri Lankan parliament, but lost by a handful of votes. Gunasekara was then sworn in as the Minister for Constitutional Affairs.[3][4]

During the 2020 Parliamentary elections, the CPSL put forward two candidates, Mahesh Almedia in Colombo and Weerasumana Weerasinghe in Matara, under the SLPP's Pohottuwa symbol. Dr. G Weerasinghe was nominated for the party's National List. Weerasumana was the only candidate to successfully enter Parliament with 77,968 preferential votes.

Gunasekera stepped down as General Secretary of the CPSL on 30 August 2020. Dr. G. Weerasinghe was unanimously elected as the new General Secretary by the Central Committee.[5]

Party organizationEdit

The youth wing of CPSL is the Communist Youth Federation. CYF is a member organization of the World Federation of Democratic Youth.


The CPSL and other Leftist parties were framed by the J R Jayawardane government for instigating the 1983 Black July pogroms against Tamil people. The party was banned and leaders including D.E.W. Gunasekera were imprisoned for over a year. The ban was lifted due to lack of evidence for the charges and intervention from the Soviet embassy. The ban on the JVP and NSSP stayed the same.


Aththa (Truth) is the CPSL's flagship Sinhala newspaper,[6] which was renowned for its high-standard of journalism, progressive editorials and Sinhala prose.

The English organ of the CPSL was the Forward weekly.[7]

Electoral historyEdit