Jayawardene, Junius Richard (jĪˌəwärˈdēn) [key], 1906–96, prime minister (1977–78) and president (1978–88) of Sri Lanka. Active in Sri Lankan politics since the early 1940s, he was a founding member of the United National Party. Supporting a new presidential constitution (1978), he stressed free-market, pro-Western policies and large-scale development and won elections in 1977 and 1982. In 1983, however, he was unable to prevent civil war between Tamils and majority Sinhalese; the unrest continued through the remainder of his presidency, despite Indian intervention (1987).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.