Sri Lanka President Sirisena names new Cabinet, keeps police under him

Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena. File photo.

Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena. File photo.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena on Thursday named a 30-member Cabinet while ignoring Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s nominees and retained control over the country’s security forces and the police, indicating that the two leaders are still at loggerheads.

The Cabinet announcement came after the reinstatement of Mr. Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister.

Mr. Sirisena ignored Mr. Wickremesinghe’s nominees for Cabinet positions from those who had defected from his Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP). At least three seniors had defected from the SLFP to Mr. Wickremesinghe’s United National Party (UNP).

Mr. Sirisena’s decision on October 26 to remove Prime Minister Wickremesinghe and install former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa in his place triggered an unprecedented constitutional crisis. Later, Mr. Sirisena also dissolved the 225-member Parliament and called for a snap election on January 5.

However, Mr. Wickremesinghe was re-appointed as prime minister by Mr. Sirisena following a Supreme Court order, ending the 51-day political stand-off in the country.

The President now holds the Defence and Mahaweli Development and Environment Ministry portfolios. He retained the control over the police, which is investigating an alleged plot to kill him that triggered a political crisis in the country.

Mr. Wickremesinghe will hold portfolios of National Policies, Economic Affairs, Resettlement & Rehabilitation, Northern Province Development, Vocational Training & Skills Development & Youth Affairs. Thilak Janaka Marapana was sworn-in as the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Mr. Sirisena’s holding of the Law and Order Ministry has been disputed by the UNP, claiming that the President was only constitutionally allowed to be the defence minister in addition to the subject of environment.

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 2:16:33 PM |

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