Ex Lankan Prez Wijetunga dies | world | Hindustan Times
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Ex Lankan Prez Wijetunga dies

world Updated: Sep 21, 2008 19:06 IST
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Former Sri Lankan President Dingiri Banda Wijetunga died on Sunday in the central town of Kandy from a chest illness, an aide said. He was 92.

Wijetunga became the island's third president after his predecessor, Ranasinghe Premadasa, was assassinated by a Tamil Tiger rebel suicide bomber at a May Day rally in 1993. He held the position for 18 months.

Wijetunga won election to Parliament for the first time in 1965. He later led several key ministries, including finance and defense, and served as prime minister from 1989 to 1993.

As president, he was credited with increasing political freedoms, restoring the freedom of the media and trade unions in the aftermath of an insurrection by Marxists during Premadasa's rule that resulted in the deaths of thousands.

His aide, Sarath Muniratne, said Wijetunga's body will be honored in Parliament on Thursday and cremated in Kandy later that day.