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Sri Lanka - Presidents flags

Last modified: 2023-06-03 by ian macdonald
Keywords: sri lanka | ceylon | president |
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Flags of Sri Lankan Presidents

 It seems that each Sri Lankan president has his own flag. From the site here is the list of presidents of the Republic (1978-2000 Democratic Socialist Republic):

22 May 1972 - 4 Feb 1978 William Gopallawa (b. 1897 - d. 1981)
4 Feb 1978 - 2 Jan 1989 Junius Richard Jayawardene (b. 1906 - d. 1996)
2 Jan 1989 - 1 May 1993 Ranasinghe Premadasa (b. 1924 - d. 1993)
2 May 1993 - 12 Nov 1994 Dingiri Banda Wijetunge (b. 1916 - d. 2008) (acting to 7 May 1993)
12 Nov 1994 - 19 Nov 2005 Chandrika Kumaratunga (f) (b. 1945)
19 Nov 2005 - 9 January 2015 Mahinda Rajapaksa  (b. 1945)
9 Jan 2015 - Maithripala Sirisena (b. 1951)

Maithripala Sirisena (2015-)

image located by sidekickgang, 26 February 2015

The Sri Lanka President website shows his picture with the flag. The image should be his flag:
Nozomi Kariyasu, 27 February 2015

Mahinda Rajapaksa (2005-2015)

image by Eugene Ipavec, 23 July 2009

Mahinda Rajapaksa took office 19 Nov 2005. A small image of his new presidential flag can be seen in the header at the home page of the Presidential website Photos showing partial views of the flag are included in the photo gallery at

The flag has a maroon or burgundy field, a yellow ornamental border, the 4 inward-pointing yellow leaves which are also on the main portion of the national flag, and a yellow circular device in the center.
Ned Smith, 3 June 2007

This flag can be seen in use at (third photo - click on photo for enlargement).
Esteban Rivera, 3 June 2009

The Flag of the current President of Sri Lanka appears in this series of pictures in an article on the Sri Lankan Army official website:
Esteban Rivera, 22 July 2009

The number of florets in the border is conjectural, as no entire side is visible.
Eugene Ipavec, 23 July 2009

Chandrika Kumaratunga (1994-2005)

[Naval ensign of Sri Lanka]  image by Željko Heimer

[See Junius Jayawardene's flag for significance of some of the elements.]

Yellow flag with red-white-red unequal border and four white pipul leaves, one in each corner. In the middle there is a red white and yellow rosette (arabesque, if you like, though probably this is not proper word here). [Red here is the brownish red of the national flag.]
Source: Album des Pavillons (2000)
Željko Heimer, 23 January 2003

The ratio is 4:9. The patterned border ornament is still not known as we lack a precise original picture.
Pascal Vagnat, 27 January 2003

This flag seems to be a recent development. Previous editions of Album des Pavillons do not mention anything of the sort, nor does Smith (1982). However, there is a presidential flag in Smith (1975c), blue with a coat of arms and inscription (see below). It seems that it was abandoned in late 1970's?
Željko Heimer
, 23 January 2003

It seems that in all these representations of the presidential flag it is not in ratio 1:2, but (very) close to 4:9.
Željko Heimer, 25 January 2003

Ms. Kumaratunga served from Nov 1994 to Nov 2005.
Ned Smith, 3 June 2007

Ranasinghe Premadasa's flag (1989-1993)

On we learn that:

"A commemorative one rupee cupro-nickel coin was issued by Central Bank of Sri Lanka for circulation in January 1992 on the the 3rd Anniversary of the induction of the Ranasinghe Premadasa as the second Executive President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka."
and that:
"Reverse : Two traditional Sinhala lions with swords face each other above His Excellency the President's flag depicted at the center. The value `ONE RUPEE' in Sinhala Tamil and English appear below."
From the photo we see that the flag is very similar, if not identical (the coin is small (25.4 mm)) to the present flag.
Pascal Vagnat, 25 January 2003

In my notes I have a record of a presidential design adopted on 19 November 1988. This must be for the therd presidential flag  The central emblem is a disk with ornaments very different from that shown in Album des Pavillons (2000). It looks like a flower or an image seen in a kaleidoscope.
Jaume Ollé, 25 January 2003

Crampton (1990), p. 107, described (no illustration) the presidential flag as "Red with a stylized lotus flower; a border of white and green decorated with gold rice leaves; in each corner "bo" leaves". This might be Premadasa's flag, therefore the Sri Lankan presidential standard 1989-1993. It shows analogies both to the current flag (lotus flower, bo leaves) and to the previous one (green-white border).
Santiago Dotor, 27 January 2003

Junius Jayawardene's flag (1978-1989)

When Junius Jayawardene was in office, he used a similar flag but in national colors and with 'jaya' letters in corners.
Željko Heimer, 24 January 2003

For the second presidential flag, a description is given in the Flag Bulletin (vol. XVII:6; vol. XVIII, 2). The red and green colours are for prosperity and progress. The central device is the Dhammachakka wheel, representing justice in society. The eight-spoked wheel refers to the noble eight fold path of Buddhism (right understanding, right thoughts, right speech, right behaviour, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration). The corner ornaments are the Sinhalese word "Jaya" (Victory). The proportions are (according to the text) 2:3, even if the image pictured is 1:2. The central device is 3/5 the width of the flag. The word Jaya is also the first two syllables of the president's name (J. R. Jayawardene). Colours of the corner devices and the central emblem are not given. The same flag (ratio 1:2), is pictured in Flaggenmitteilung 65, showing the corners ornaments green and the central wheel yellow.
Jaume Ollé, 25 January 2003

Barraclough and Crampton (1981), p.250, says,

"Sri Lanka became a Democratic Republic on 7 September 1978...A new design was however adopted for the President's Flag. This now has a red field, with a green border separated by a white fimbriation. In each canton [of the red field] is the word "Jaya" in yellow Sinhalese letters [looking like an inwardly curved 'w' within an upside down, uppercase Greek omega], meaning 'Victory' (but also referring to the President's name -- J. R. Jayewardene). In the centre is a wheel of eight spokes, the Dhama Chaka [sic], similar to the one used on the flag of India and formerly on the flag of Sikkim. The eight spokes stand for the eight-fold path of righteousness. The new flag has the proportions two by three."
On the illustration, the green border appears to be 1/10th of the flag's length and the word "Jaya" is green not yellow.
Santiago Dotor, 27 January 2003

President Gopallawa's flag (1972-1978)

[Civil ensign of Sri Lanka] image by Željko Heimer

President Gopallawa used (I believe) the flag shown in Smith (1975), blue with the national coat of arms in full colours above a white bordered red inscription (reading Sri Lanka, I suppose, but I might need some lectures in Sinhalese).

Gopallawa was the Governor-General of the Dominion of Ceylon (since 1962, Dominion created in 1948) and was elected president after the formation of the republic. I guess as the Governor General he used a standard Governor General flag. Therefore the presidential flag is somewhat of a logical analog.
Željko Heimer, 24 January 2003

I notice that Gopallawa is not included in a list of the Executive Presidents, therefore their list has only four names. Did Gopallawa held some other title? This might explain the drastically different flag used by him.
Željko Heimer, 25 January 2003

Before 7 September 1978 executive power in Sri Lanka was in the hands of the prime minister. Only after the new constitution of 1978 did the presidents gain executive power
Jaume Ollé, 25 January 2003

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