Legal Framework

The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a unitary, semi‐presidential constitutional republic. Its fundamental laws are enshrined in its 1978 constitution. Basic freedoms, including freedom of speech, assembly, association, and movement are guaranteed by the constitution.

The 1978 Constitution established the Executive Presidency in Sri Lanka, whereby the President is the Head of State as well as the Head of the Executive, Head of Government and the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. The President is also the Head of the Cabinet of Ministers and appoints the Prime Minister and other Ministers from among elected members of Parliament.

AS of 2015, the constitution has been formally amended 19 times. Among the most relevant amendments are:

● 13th Amendment (1987): provided for the decentralization of power and created the provincial councils

● 17th Amendment (2001): provided for the creation of a Constitutional Council and Independent Commissions (including election commission)

● 18th Amendment (2010): removed term limits for President.

● 19A Amendment (2015): restoring term limits for president (2 terms) Sri Lanka has signed and ratified key international instruments relating to the conduct of elections, including the UN Declaration of Human Rights, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

Resources :


LINK : Constitution 
PDF : Constitution
PDF : Constitution (as amended up to 9 September 2010)
PDF : Constitution (as amended up to 15 May 2015)

Election Acts

PDF : Local Authorities Elections (Amendment) Act 2012
PDF : Presidential Elections (Special Provisions) Act No. 2 of 1981
PDF : Sri Lanka: Referendum Act, No. 7 of 1981.
PDF : Sri Lanka: Registration of Electors Act, No.44 of 1980.
PDF : Sri Lanka: Presidential Elections Act, No. 15 of 1981.

Reprint of Ceylon Order

PDF : Sri Lanka: Reprint of the Ceylon (Parliamentary Elections) Order in Council, 1946 (CHAPTER 381).  


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