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SLFP “deeply disappointed” over Cabinet positions – Prof Rohana Luxman

DISSAPPOINTED – Dayasiri Jayasekara signs on as State Minister for Batiks, Handlooms and Local Apparel. He was expecting a Cabinet post.

ECONOMYNEXT – The Sri Lanka Freedom party (SLFP) is “deeply unhappy” over the treatment given to it by the governing Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna in the distribution of Cabinet positions as well as the allocation of National List Seats, a senior party member said.

Prof Rohana Luxman Piyadasa, a former General-Secretary of the party told EconomyNext that there is “disappointment within our ranks that there is no sharing of power with us as we were the main ally which gave the alliance a two-thirds majority.”

SLFP members won 14 seats and Piyadasa claims it “could have been 20 if we contested as a separate party.”

He said that the future course of action will be decided at the party’s politburo meeting and a probable Central Committee Meeting.

“We worked hard for the victory of Gotabaya Rajapaksa as President, as a result, we feel that we should be able to give political direction to the implementation of his program as an equal partner,” he said.

Piyadasa also pointed out that the party had been allocated two seats on the National List and the SLFP had nominated two persons, himself and Dr Suren Raghavan the former Northern Province Governor.

According to Piyadasa, he was designated as the first choice and Raghavan second. “However they chose only Raghavan,” he said.

Yesterday the SundayTimes newspaper quoted the current General Secretary of the SLFP Dayasiri Jayasekara as saying that he had sent three names up for Cabinet positions, they were Nimal Siripala de Silva, Mahinda Amaraweera and himself.

Jayasekara did not get a cabinet portfolio but a State Ministry entitled Batik, Handloom and Local apparel, one of the several names of Ministries former Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera has called “hilarious.”

Both Piyadasa and former President Chandrika Kumaratunga have said that the Ministries that Amaraweera and De Silva were given “do not have major institutions attached to them.”

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Cabinet Ministers generally use their power over state institutions coming under their ministries to grant employment and carry out developmental work that would benefit their supporters.

Piyadasa said that the subject given to Amaraweera is Environment “which is a devolved subject to the Provincial Councils.”

De Silva’s ministry, he said “only has trouble.”

The biggest disappointment Piyadasa said was that former President Maithripala Sirisena did not get a Cabinet position.

Jayasekara was quoted as saying that sent a list of the 14 MPs from the SLFP who won seats in order of seniority and that Sirisena’s name was on top.

Piyadasa pointed out that Sirisena had got a record number of preferential votes in Polonnaruwa, over a hundred thousand, and yet did not get a position.

“He has been vaguely offered a new position as Deputy Prime Minister to be created in the proposed new Constitution,” Piyadasa said.’

“However we don’t know whether it will come to pass.” (Colombo, August 17, 2020)

Reported by Arjuna Ranawana