A special cabinet meeting has been convened today to discuss the constitutional amendments, which would most likely include the original draft of the 19th amendment that was meant to include provisions that abolished the Executive Presidency, Colombo Telegraph learns.
The original 19A draft was meant to abolish the Executive Presidency. A human rights lawyers speaking to CT said the original version underwent several changes due to pressure from the JHU, Minister Rajitha Senaratne, Nimal Siripala de Silva and a section of the SLFP as they had threatened to prevent the passage of the bill by 2/3 majority. As a result, the section that abolished the Executive Presidency had been omitted and had been replaced by provisions that only curtailed certain powers of the Executive Presidency and this was the version that had been gazetted over a week ago.
This change had been met with protests from the government and as usual, the age-old tactic has been deployed in order to simmer down the rising objections – by awarding Ministerial posts.
Accordingly a national government was established yesterday by the UNP and the SLFP with 11 more cabinet ministerial posts, five state ministerial posts and ten deputy ministerial posts granted to MPs of both parties.
This move has given the chance for the government to once again, revert to the original draft of the 19th amendment to be presented before the parliament, since its passage would now meet with the objections of a few including the likes of the JHU and Wimal Weerawansa.
The President Maithripala Sirisena, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and Chandrika Kumaratunga think 19A can be passed even if the JHU vote against, a source close to Sirisena told Colombo Telegraph.
Following are the cabinet, state and deputy ministers sworn-in yesterday:
A.H.M.Fousie – Minister of Disaster Management
S.B.Nawinna – Minister of Labour
Piyasena Gamage – Minister of Skill Development and Vocational Training
Dr. Sarath Amunugama – Minister of Higher Education and Research
S.B.Dissanayake – Minister of Rural Economic Affairs
Janaka Bandara Thennakoon – Minister of Provincial Councils and Local Development
Felix Perera – Minister of Special Projects
Mahinda Yapa Abewardene – Minister of Parliamentary Affairs
Vijith Wijeyamuni Soysa – Minister of Irrigation
Mahinda Amaraweera – Minister of Fisheries
Pavitradevi Wanniarachchi – State Minister of Environment
Jeewan Kumaratunga – State Minister of Labour
Mahinda Samarasinghe – State Minister of Finance
C.B.Ratanayake – State Minister of Public Administration and Democratic Rule
Dilan Perera – State Minister of Housing and Samurdhi
Tissa Karaliyedda – Deputy Minister of Buddha Sasana and Democratic Rule
Dayashritha Tissera – Deputy Minister of Fisheries
Ranjith Siyambalapitiya – Deputy Minister of Home Affairs
Laxman Seneviratne – Deputy Minister of Disaster Management
Laxman Yapa Abewardene – Deputy Minister of Aviation Services
Lalith Dissayanake – Deputy Minister of Irrigation
Jagath Pushpakumara – Deputy Minister of Plantation Industries
Lasantha Alagiyawanna – Deputy Minister of Rural Economic Affairs
Sudarshani Fernandopulle – Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Research
Shantha Bandara – Deputy Minister of Media