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Wijayananda Dahanayake, former Sri Lankan prime minister, dies

May 4, 1997

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) _ Wijayananda Dahanayake, a former Sri Lankan prime minister who served as a lawmaker for nearly four decades, died Sunday, his doctors said. He was 94.

No cause of death was given other than old age.

Dahanayake began his political career as mayor of the southern city of Galle in 1939. He was elected to parliament in 1947 and became Sri lanka’s education minister nine years later. He introduced free midday meals for schoolchildren who called him ``Bunis Mama″ (Uncle Buns).

Dahanayake became prime minister in 1959 after Solomon Bandaranaike was assassinated. He handed over power six months later to Bandaranaike’s widow, Sirimavo, who won subsequent elections.

He retired in 1977, but returned to the Cabinet for a final three years in 1986-89.

He never married and information on survivors was not known. Funeral plans were not announced.

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