Ravindra receives portfolio at expense of Daya, vacancies for ten-non-cabinet ministers remain



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(L-R) V. Radhakrishnan, Ravindra Samaraweera, Maithripala Sirisena, Daya Gamage and Abdullah Maharoof


 


By Shamindra Ferdinando


Two more government lawmakers yesterday received appointment as non-cabinet ministers against the backdrop of President Maithripala Sirisena’s firm stand that the cabinet be limited to 30, including the President and Prime Minister.


Cabinet appointments were finalized on Dec 20, 2018.


Badulla District UNP MP Ravindra Samaraweera and Nuwara Eliya District UNP MP V. Radhakrishnan received labour and trade union relations, and special regions portfolios respectively.


Up Country People’s Front member Radhakrishnan, who represented the UPFA in the Nuwara Eliya District during the Rajapaksa administration contested the last parliamentary polls in 2015 August on the UNP ticket.


Samaraweera secured labour and trade unions portfolios at the expense of Daya Gamage, who ended up with the social empowerment portfolio. Gamage received his letter of appointment as the minister of labour, trade union relations and social empowerment on Dec 20, 2018.


Trincomalee District UNP MP Abdullah Mahroof received his letter of appointment as the Deputy Minister of Ports and Shipping. With yesterday’s appointments, the number of non-cabinet ministers increased to 30. In terms of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution enacted in late April 2015, there can be 30 cabinet and 40 non-cabinet ministers.


Ten vacancies remained with several vociferous backbenchers demanding suitable non-cabinet portfolios.


Sarath Fonseka, Wijeyadasa Rajapakse and D.M. Swaminathan were among those who were left out of the last cabinet. The UNP was forced to restrict the number to 30. President Sirisena quit the coalition thereby denied an opportunity to exceed the 30 limit.


In accordance with the 19th Amendment, the limit can be exceeded only if the party with the biggest block of seats formed a national government.


Former State Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources and Disaster Management Range Bandara is yet to receive at least a non-cabinet portfolio in spite of publicly threatening to take a strong decision unless he was given a cabinet portfolio.


 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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