Colombo Telegraph

More Ministers – More Tussles

The Swearing in of another 51 ministers which was due to happen today has been once again postponed because of tussles between the SLFP and UNP and also infighting among parliament members of the two parties in sharing portfolios.

Another 5 cabinet ministers and 45 state and deputy ministers were to take oaths before the President today.

At the swearing-in ceremony held on September 04th, 42 ministers of the new 48-member cabinet took oaths before President Maithripala Sirisena.

Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera was sworn-in last month ahead of the visit by top United States officials.

Out of the five cabinet minister posts, four of them will be from Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP).

According to SLFP sources, out of the four ministerial posts three could go to Arumugam Thondaman the leader of the Ceylon Workers Congress (ally of UPFA), Douglas Devananda, Leader of the Ealam People’s Democratic Party (ally of UPFA) and SLFP veteran A.H.M. Fowzie.

Three SLFP’s are vying for the remaining slot Lakshman Yapa, Faizer Mustapha and Vijith Wijathamuni Soysa.

Some SLFP MP’s have voiced their dissatisfaction about naming Devananda and Thondaman for ministerial posts as they are not members of the SLFP.

Also some Tamil parties have raised objections to nominating both Devananda and Thondaman. Party leaders, P.Thigambaran and Mano Ganeshan too have raised objections with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe over the possibility of Thondaman being given a ministerial portfolio.

Even late last evening the party hierarchy had been trying to resolve issues, but had been unable to arrive at a consensus, according to reliable sources.

Meanwhile, according to UNP sources the final cabinet slot may go to Colombo district parliamentarian Sujeewa Senasinghe.

A total of 45 parliamentarians are expected to be sworn-in as State Ministers and Deputy Ministers. Out of them 27 will be from the United National Party (UNP) while the rest is from SLFP.

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