Hema Premadasa

Hema Premadasa (née Wickramatunge) (born 27 October 1934) is a former First Lady of Sri Lanka. She was in the office of the first lady of Sri Lanka from 2 January 1989 to 1 May 1993. While she was married to a politician, she "carved a separate identity for herself through her Presidentship of the Seva Vanitha Movement."[1]

Hema Premadasa
First Lady of Sri Lanka
In role
2 January 1989 – 1 May 1993
Preceded byElina Jayewardene
Succeeded byWimalawathi Kumarihami
Personal details
Hema Wickramatunge

(1934-10-27) 27 October 1934 (age 88)
Bandarawela, British Ceylon
NationalitySri Lankan
SpouseRanasinghe Premadasa (m. 1964)
ChildrenSajith, Dulanjali

Premadasa is the mother of Sajith Premadasa (b 1967), Leader of the Opposition, and leader of the Samagi Jana Balawegaya. In 1991, even though the Sri Lankan government tried to ban the Mothers' Front rally, Premadasa held her own rally the same day.[2] Later, she attempted to seek Presidency.[3] She was forced to quit when the opposite party ran a "scurrilous poster campaign."[4]

As first lady, she visited accident sites and hospitals when Sri Lankans were injured.[5] She was also a member of the Seva Vanitha Movement (SVM).[6] Premadasa's husband Ranasinghe Premadasa was killed by a LTTE bomb in 1993.[7]

Premadasa is a fan of netball and considered an "ardent player."[8]


  1. ^ de Alwis, Malathi (2002). "Housewives of the Public". In Lenz, Ilse; Lutz, Helma (eds.). Crossing Borders and Shifting Boundaries. Vol. II. VS Verlag fur Sozialwissenschaften. p. 32. ISBN 9783663095279.
  2. ^ De Mel, Neloufer (2002). Women & the Nation's Narrative: Gender and Nationalism in the Twentieth Century Sri Lanka. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. p. 246. ISBN 9780742518070.
  3. ^ "Premadasa's Widow Indicates She May Seek Political Office". Santa Ana Orange County Register. 7 May 1993. Retrieved 7 February 2016 – via Newspaper Archive.
  4. ^ "Why Lankan Women Shun Politics". Hindustan Times. 13 March 2007. Archived from the original on 20 February 2016. Retrieved 7 February 2016 – via HighBeam Research.
  5. ^ "At least 45 Die in Sri Lanka Crash". Appeal Democrat. 18 January 1989. Retrieved 7 February 2016 – via Newspaper Archive.
  6. ^ Mittra, Sangh; Kumar, Bachchan (2004). Encyclopedia of Women in South Asia: Sri Lanka. Kalpaz Publications. p. 283. ISBN 9788178351926.
  7. ^ Gargan, Edward A. (May 2, 1993). "Suicide Bomber Kills President of Sri Lanka (Published 1993)" – via NYTimes.com.
  8. ^ "PMs Call For Global Help With Housing". Kingston Gleaner. 30 April 1985. Retrieved 7 February 2016 – via Newspaper Archive.

Honorary titles
Preceded by
Elina Jayewardene
First Lady of Sri Lanka
2 January 1989 – 1 May 1993
Succeeded by
Wimalawathi Kumarihami