Wickremesinghe was first appointed as the Prime Minister from 1993 - 1994 after the assassination of former President Ranasinghe Premadasa.

He was also elected as the Prime Minister from 2001 - 2004 when the United National Front Government wont the parliamentary elections in 2001. A lawyer by profession, he was elected to Parliament in 1977 at the age of 28 having worked in the Youth League of the UNP since his university days. He held a number of portfolios in the J.R. Jayewardene and R. Premadasa Governments. He was one time the Minister of Education too. In 2001, Ranil Wickremesinghe led his party back to power and was sworn in as Prime Minister once again.