Sri Lanka finance ministry split again, key cabinet posts to opposition: report

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka United National Party is likely to concede key ministries to the opposition in a national unity cabinet, with the finance ministry split further and national list appointees getting key cabinet ministries, a media report said.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe will continue to hold the subjects of Policy Planning and External Resource with the finance ministry with key revenue agencies going Ravi Karunanayake, The Sunday Times newspaper said.

The foreign, justice and resettlement ministers have already been appointed.

Other likely posts include Kabir Hashim as the minister for National Enterprise Development who may have state banks which was earlier part of the finance ministry, state airlines, gas and sugar companies.

A new ministry for Western Megapolis and Urban Development may go to JHU’s Champika Ranawaka who helped deflect criticism from nationalists.

UNP Chairman and close confidante of Prime Minister Wickremesinghe, who is also an apparel factory owner may get international trade and investment, a key important ministry which will be responsible for striking global trade and investment deals.

Tilak Marapone, a national list appointee, who was widely blamed for the defeat of a UNP administration in 2004. may get the ministry of Law and Order.

Akila Viraj Kariyawasam may get education, Sagala Ratnayake media and a deputy minister post at the Prime Minister’s Secretariat, the Sunday Times said.

Sajith Premadasa may get housing, Arjuna Ranatunga, a key player in ousting the Rajapaksa regime and also winning the Gampaha district for the UNP, may get ports.

Harin Fernando, a young legislator who helped turn the tide against the Rajapaksa regime by contesting the provincial elections after resigning his parliamentary seat may be given telecommunications, the report said.

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There was no mention of any other new legislators who have a reputation for being straightforward and who helped the change public perceptions about the UNP leadership. Political analysts say that may be a dis-advantage when the opposition starts pulling the rug from under the administration if there are no people in key positions who are capable of taking the message to the public.

The opposition Sri Lanka Freedom Party’s Nimal Siripala de Silva will be minister of Aviation and internal transport. Petroleum may go to Susil Premajayantha, a key player in bringing ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa back to parliament.

Dilan Perera may get sports. Anura Yapa and Chamal Rajapaksa may also be ministers, the report said.

Agriculture may go to Duminda Dissanayake, Higher education to Sarath Amunugama and Labour to Mahinda Samarasinghe.

President Maithripala Sirisena will get Defence, Environment and Mahaweli. (Colombo/Aug30/2015)

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