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All Cabinet posts equal, essential for development – MR
Appointments of Kandy ministers withheld pending inquiry
Four more ministries to be created
Thonda will be sworn in shortly

President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday addressing the new Cabinet and deputy ministers, said all ministerial portfolios were equally precious and each and every one of them was related to the country’s development.

He said that it had been difficult to select the Cabinet and all portfolios had been designed to bring about national development.

The 37 new Cabinet Ministers and 39 deputies took oaths before the President at the Presidential Secretariat last afternoon.

However, the President did not appoint anyone from the Kandy District a minister pending an inquiry by the SLFP into incidents which led to the annulment of results in Nawalapitiya at the April 8 election, according to sources.

CWC leader Arumugam Thondaman will be sworn in later.

After the swearing in of new ministers, President Rajapaksa said that all ministers would be bound by collective Cabinet responsibility.

He said that people had voted for the UPFA with a lot of hope. All ministers would have to work hard to fulfil the people’s aspirations, he said.

President Rajapaksa requested all ministers and deputy ministers to work together.

Former Minister of Investment Promotions Naveen Dissanayake was also left out while another UNP rebel, Matara District MP Laskhman Yapa Abeywardena, received only a deputy ministership.

Wimal Weerawansa, who accused the government of deceit for not allocating two National List slots for his National Freedom Front, took oaths as the Cabinet Minister of Engineering Construction, Housing and Public Utilities. His party members, Anuradhapura District MP Weerakumara Dissanayake was appointed as Deputy Minister of Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development.

The Left party alliance in the government, including the Communist Party of Sri Lanka, The Lanka Sama Samaja Party, the Sri Lanka Mahajana Pakshaya, the Democratic Left Alliance and the Deshavimukthi Janatha Peramua pushed for a Cabinet portfolio for Ratnapura District MP Vasudeva Nanayakkara but not a single LSSP member received a Cabinet portfolio.

Former Science and Technology Minister Prof. Tissa Vitharana, representing the LSSP did not get any portfolio, but Communist Party’s D. E. W. Gunasekera and Chandrasiri Gajadeera were appointed as Cabinet Minister of Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms and Deputy Minister of Finance and Planning respectively.

The JHU MP Patali Champika Ranawaka was appointed Minister of Power and Energy. The CWC received only one deputy ministerial portfolio. Muttu Sivalingam was appointed as Deputy Minister of Economic Development.

There was speculation that the Ministry of Sports would go to S. B. Dissanayake or Johnston Fernando, but it was given to the Nuwara Eliya District MP and former Livestock Minister C. B. Ratnayake.

Only Basil Rajapaksa and Vijith Gamini WIjayamuni Soyza were appointed as ministers from among the newcomers. Basil Rajapaksa was appointed Minister of economic development and Moneragala District MP Vijithamuni Soyza as the deputy minister of Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms.

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