The appointment of a new Cabinet has arrived at a fresh deadlock with President Maithripala Sirisena refusing to appoint crossover SLFP MPs and Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka to Cabinet positions.
At the Central Committee meeting of the party held at the Presidential Secretariat last night, Sirisena had assured his party that he would not appoint crossover MPs and former Army Commander Fonseka who has severely criticized the President since the outbreak of the political crisis.
President Sirisena, at the Central Committee meeting, had specifically mentioned the names of Vijith Wijayamuni Zoysa, Indika Bandaranaike and Lakshman Seneviratne who crossed over to the ruling party in Parliament. On a previous occasion, the President informed the UNP that he will not appoint Piyasena Gamage, A.H.M. Fowzie and Manusha Nanayakkara as Cabinet members.
The UNP, however, has shot back at the President saying it is the United National Front (UNF) that will make final decisions on the ministerial portfolios. Informed party sources also added that the UNP would continue to negotiate with SLFP MPs willing to work with the UNF government.
“Three SLFP MPs joined the UNF yesterday. Three more will join today or tomorrow. With them joining the government, the SLFP, headed by the President, will have only 15 members in Parliament. A person who has only 15 members in the House cannot dictate terms to a party that has 109 MPs,” a senior UNP Spokesman told Colombo Telegraph this morning.
The President has also informed the UNP that he will not relinquish the Police Department and the Ministry of Media. The UNP, however, has vehemently opposed the President’s move, insisting that the two ministries should come under the UNP’s purview.
UNP General Secretary Akila Viraj Kariyawasam told the media this morning that under no circumstances would the UNP agree with the President’s demands on the Law and Order Ministry and the Media Ministry.