Colombo Telegraph

So-Called National Government To Appoint Around 100 Ministers

The so-called national government will have at least 93 ministers which may expand further as time goes on, UNP sources said.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in a letter to the Secretary General of the Parliament has sought approval to accommodate 48 cabinet ministers and 45 state and deputy ministers..

Meanwhile the tussle between the UNP and SLFP in sharing the ministerial portfolios has not ended yet.

A UNP parliamentarian said that the SLFP was negotiating for some powerful ministerial portfolios including the media ministry which the UNP is reluctant to gift.

The UNP MP however said that the swearing-in of the cabinet ministers of the new national government which was postponed several times would finally happen on Thursday and Friday.

Reacting to the government’s decision to name a jumbo cabinet, the Chairman of the National Movement for Social Justice Maduluwavwe Sobhitha Thero who galvanized the civil society movement to bring down the Rajapaksa regime said that this was not what the people expected.

The thero said that the ruler should be ashamed of themselves for appointing such a large cabinet while wasting precious public money.

The Thero said it would have been more feasible to have a UNP-led government rather than a so-called national government and predicted that the coalition will have a rough sailing in the days to come.

Sobitha Thero went on to say that the term national government cannot be used as the government does not have the support of all political parties in parliament.

Under the 19th Amendment to the Constitution the number of Cabinet Ministers is limited to 30 with the exception of a national government in which case the number of Ministers should be decided by the Parliament. The total number of non-Cabinet and Deputy Ministers is also restricted to 40 but the number can be expanded with the parliamentary approval.

Out of the 48 ministerial portfolios the UNP will have 28 while the SLFP will have 17 with the other 3 going to smaller parties, according to sources.

President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe will also hold cabinet portfolios.

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