Sri Lanka shake up likely this week
ECONOMYNEXT – The drastic changes promised by President Maithripala Sirisena are likely to be effected this week with a cabinet reshuffle as well as the axing of several top officials and heads of state institutions, official sources said Monday.
The President announced on April 20 that he will carry out sweeping changes in the government within two weeks, but despite the slight delay he was keen to go ahead with his plan which is said to be resisted by some members of the cabinet.
There had been widespread speculation that Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake and Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera were to swap portfolios while Samaraweera is also due to be given additional responsibilities to run the media ministry.
However, there was also concern if a major cabinet change should go ahead just before Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit on Thursday. Any change in the foreign ministry would disrupt carefully planned arrangements, an official involved with the visit said.
“What we might see is some swapping of portfolios of SLFP (Sri Lanka Freedom Party) ministers ,” the official said.
Defence Secretary Karunasena Hettiarachchi has already got marching orders and is being given a consolation prize as ambassador to Germany, but the move is to be officially announced later this week. (Colombo/May08/2017 – Update II)