President Maithripala Sirisena today publicly admitted that there had been disagreements when assigning ministerial portfolios in the new national government formed between the UNP and SLFP.
Addressing a section of the new cabinet of ministers who took oaths today Sirisena said that even when the UPFA had an outright majority in parliament earlier there had been many a dispute when assigning ministerial portfolios.
Sirisena’s attempts to play down the number of portfolios which the UNP had got (33) clearly indicated that there had been strenous bragaining on the part of the SLFP to get more miniterial posts for their side.
The President stressed on numbers in an obvious move to appease the SLFP members saying although UNP had got 33 ministerial portfolios, 7 of them had been assigned to members from affiliated parties such as Patalika Champika Ranawaka, Arjuna Ranataunga, M.K.D.S.Gunewardene, Rauf Hakeem, etc.
President Sirisena pointing out to the above figures said that actually the UNP had recived only 26 ministerial portfolios.
Sirisena said that SLFP side will have 15 cabinet ministerial portfolios in addition to 18 state and deputy ministerial posts. The UNP will recieve another 27 state and deputy ministerial portfolios.
However only 42 ministers were sorn in yesterday out of which 12 are from the SLFP (including the President). According to President’s figures 3 more SLFP members are slated to be sworn in as Cabinet ministers while there will be 2 more from the UNP.
Sirisena went on to say that he and the Premier had decided to appoint a special committee which will be responsible for appointing heads and directors for state institutions. Earlier such appointments were made on the discretion of the Minister in charge of the subject.
The President said that Ministers could make recommendations but the committee will make the final decision. He said that this was to ensure that well qualified and suitable people are appointed to such posts.
Sirisena also urged the new cabinet ministers to keep away from corrupt practices while adding that such people will be punished irrespective of status.
Meanwhile the Premier addressing the new Ministers said that some of those who were overlooked for ministerial posts could head the district development coordinating committees and parliamentary select commitees which will be initiated soon.
The swearing-in of the cabinet ministers of the new national government which was postponed for several times finally took place today.
However, the state and deputy ministers did not take their oaths today. Political sources said some of these portolios were yet to be finalised and the oath taking of state and deputy ministers will msot likely happen on Monday.
The following MPs were sworn in as ministers today:
1. Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe – Minister of National Policy & Economic Affairs
2. John Amaratunga – Minister of Tourism Development & Christian Affairs
3. Gamini Jayawickrama Perera – Minister of Sustainable Development & Wildlife
4. Nimal Siripala de Silva – Minister of Transport
5. S.B. Dissanayake – Minister of Social Empowerment & Welfare
6. W.D.J. Seneviratne – Minister of Labour and Trade Union Relations
7. Lakshman Kiriella – Minister of University Education & Highways
8. Anura Priyadharshana Yapa – Minister of Disaster Management
9. Susil Premajayantha – Technology, Technical Education & Employment
10. Thilak Janaka Marapana – Minister of Law and Order & Prison Reforms
11. Dr Rajitha Senaratne – Health, Nutrition & Indigenous Medicine
12. Ravi Karunanayake – Minister of Finance
13. Mahinda Samarasinghe – Minister of Skills Development & Vocational Training
14. Vajira Abeywardena – Minister of Home Affairs
15. S.B. Nawinne – Minister of Internal Affairs, Wayamba Development & Cultural Affairs
16. Patali Champika Ranawaka – Minister of Megapolis & Western Development
17. Mahinda Amaraweera – Minister of Fisheries & Water Resources
18. Naveen Dissanayake – Minister of Plantation Industries
19. Ranjith Siyambalapitiya – Minister of Power & Renewable Energy
20. Duminda Dissanayake – Minister of Agriculture
21. Wijedasa Rajapakshe – Minister of Buddha Sasana
22. P. Harrison – Minister of Rural Economic Affairs
23. Ranjith Maddumabandara – Minister of Public Administration & Management
24. Gayantha Karunathilake – Minister of Parliamentary Reforms & Media
25. Sajith Premadasa – Minister of Housing & Construction
26. Arjuna Ranatunga – Minister of Ports & Shipping
27. M. K. A. D. S. Gunawardana – Minister of Lands
28. P. Digambaram – Minister of Upcountry New Villages, Estate Infrastructure& Community Development
29. Chandrani Bandara – Minister of Women and Children’s Affairs
30. Thalatha Athukorala – Minister of Foreign Employment
31. Akila Viraj Kariyawasam – Minister of Education
32. D.M. Swaminathan – Minister of Resettlement & Hindu Affairs
33. Chandima Weerakkody – Petroleum & Petroleum Gas
34. Dayasiri Jayasekara – Minister of Sports
35. Sagala Ratnayake – Minister of Southern Development
36. Harin Fernando – Telecommunication & Digital Infrastructure
37. Mano Ganesan – Minister of National Dialog
38. Daya Gamage – Minister of Primary Industries
39. Rauff Hakeem – Minister of Urban Development & Water Supply
40. Rishad Bathiudeen – Minister of Industries & Commerce
41. Kabeer Hashim – Public Enterprise Development
42. Mohamed Hashim Abdul Haleem – Minister of Postal Service & Muslim Affairs