Veteran Sri Lankan politician Anura Bandaranaike dead at 59
Member of Parliament Anura Bandaranaike, from one of the country's most prominent Sri Lankan political families, died Sunday at a private hospital in Colombo after a brief illness, his family said. He was 59. ( dpa )
Bandaranaike was the son of two former prime ministers - S W R D Bandaranaike who ruled from 1956 until his assassination in 1959 - and the world's first woman prime minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike, who held three terms, 1960-65, 1970-77 and 1994 until her death in 2000.
He was also the brother of ex-president Chandrika Kumaratunga who ruled from 1994 to 2005 for two consecutive terms.
Anura entered parliament in 1977 and soon became the opposition leader to succeed his mother, who had been removed from the post when her civic rights were revoked.
Later, amid differences with the party he joined the main opposition United National Party (UNP), but returned when his sister came to power in 1994.
In 2005 he was seen as the potential presidential candidate for the ruling Sri Lanka Freedom party (SLFP)-led alliance, but instead the incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa was selected by the party to run for the post.
Bandaranaike then quit the cabinet after he was given an insignificant post, but again returned to the party as a minister. He stepped down from the post in November 2007 but remained as an MP.
His death brings an end to involvement of the Bandaranaike family in local politics. Ex-President Kumaratunga has vowed not to return to politics and her son and daughter live in London while Anura's only other sister Sunethra is not involved in politics. Anura himself was a bachelor.