Sri Lanka coalition govt to continue, Cabinet reshuffle soon-Rajitha
ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s coalition government, an alliance between the two main political parties, the United National Party (UNP) and Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), will continue despite losing local government polls, a spokesman said.
A Cabinet reshuffle will be decided upon this week itself, Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne told a news conference.
The coalition did badly at last week’s local government polls, where the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), a proxy party of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, emerged as the single largest party.
The polls result led to speculation of changes in the government with calls by the opposition for both President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to step down.
Senaratne said the local government polls defeat was a ‘red light’ for the ruling coalition to correct its wrongs.
Despite the defeat, the coalition still polled more votes than Rajapaksa’s SLPP, he said.
The government delays in probing allegations of murder and corruption against the Rajapaksa regime was a key reason for the defeat, he said.
The expected changes in the government will ensure no further delays, Senaratne said.
“We will go forward in a more disciplined manner.”
The ruling coalition expects to form the administration in 185 local government bodies by forming alliances with smaller parties where their combined vote was more than that of the SLPP, he said.
Minister of Lands Gayantha Karunatilleke said there will be major changes with the government and its constituent parties.
“We got a good message from the polls result. That’s why there have been several meetings of both parties – to evaluate the result. We realise we made many mistakes, such as the delay in issuing fertiliser to farmers.
”We will redouble efforts to change and make changes people can actually feel.”
(COLOMBO, February 15, 2018)