Constitution of Sri Lanka

Status: Republic with executive President

Legislature: Parliament of Sri Lanka

Independence: 4 February 1948

Sri Lanka is a democratic republic with an executive presidency based on the French model. Under the 1978 constitution, the head of state and government is the president. There is universal adult suffrage with proportional representation; parliamentary and presidential elections are held every six years. Parliament has a single chamber with 225 members. Members are directly elected, but vacant seats occurring during the life of a parliament go to nominees of the party holding the seat.

Ministers are appointed by the president, who chairs the cabinet and appoints the independent judiciary. Amendments may be made to the constitution, subject to a two-thirds majority in parliament; however, to amend certain entrenched articles of the constitution approval in a national referendum is also required. The constitution provides for provincial councils.

The Eighteenth Amendment – enacted in September 2010 – removed the limit on the number of terms a president may serve, previously set at two.