Sirimavo Bandaranaike was the modern world's first female head of government. Similar to other female politician, who later on became leaders in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, she is a relative of a former male prime minister. Her husband Solomon Bandaranaike had been assassinated in 1959. The following power vacuum led to a defeat of the the Bandaranaike’s party SLFP in the March 1960 elections. The party seniors agreed to appoint Sirimavo Bandaranaike party leader, she won the July 1960 elections due to the popularity of her deceaced husband.
Sirimavo Bandaranaike served as Prime Minister till 65, when she lost the elections. In 1970 she could win again and served a second term till 1977. It was during this period that the constitution was reformed and the island of Ceylon renamed to Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.
Sirimavo Bandaranaike is the mother of Sri Lanka's fourth Executive President, Chandrika Kumaratunga, and served as Prime Minister under her daughter from 1994 till she died in 2000.
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