ECONOMYNEXT - President Maithripala Sirisena Tuesday expanded his government by inducting two more state ministers and five deputies despite an ongoing spat with the senior partner in the coalition.
Five out of the seven appointed Tuesday are from the United National Party (UNP), the main constituent in the coalition that came to power in August 2015, seven months after Sirisena won the presidency with the help of the UNP.
UNP’s Ranjith Aluwihare and Lucky Jayawardena, both from the UNP, were made state ministers while Ajith Mannapperuma, Angajan Ramanathan, Cader Mastan, Edward Gunasekara and Nalin Bandara Jayamaha getting junior ministries.
Aluwihare, a devout Buddhist, got Christian Affairs ministry which also has tourism development included in the portfolio. Lucky Jayawardena was given Hill Country New Villages, Infrastructure and Community Development.
Ajith Mannapperuma was made deputy minister of Environment, Edward Gunasekara was given Internal Affairs and Wayamba Development while Nalin Bandara Jayamaha takes the deputy post in the Ministry of Public Administration and Management and Law and Order.
The two new deputy ministers from Sirisena's Sri Lanka Freedom Party are Angajan Ramanathan who takes Ministry of Agriculture and Kader Masthan who is the new deputy in the Ministry of Resettlement, Rehabilitation, Northern Development and Hindu Religious Affairs.
It is not immediately clear why Masthan, a Muslim, was placed in the Hindu Affairs ministry.
With Tuesday’s additions, the number of state ministers go up to 22 while the number of deputies also rise to 22. (COLOMBO, June 12, 2018)