New cabinet sworn-in Sri Lanka, Sirisena keeps defence

New cabinet sworn-in Sri Lanka, Sirisena keeps defence

Agency News

Colombo, Dec 20: A 29-member cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, was sworn-in on Thursday in Sri Lanka by President Maithripala Sirisena.

In the new line-up, Tilak Marapana is the Minister of Foreign Affairs while Mangala Samaraweera will hold the Finance portfolio.

The President, however, kept the Defence portfolio with him.

As per the Constitution, the number of cabinet ministers in the United National Front-led government will be limited to 30 portfolios.

The new Cabinet held its first meeting after the swearing-in ceremony, said a statement by the Presidential Press Department.

A Vote on Account to cover the government expenditure for the first three months in the coming year is expected to be presented in Parliament on Friday.

Sirisena, just nine days before the presentation of the 2019 budget on November 5, had triggered a constitutional crisis on October 26 when he replaced Wickremesinghe and appointed former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as premier, who called new elections when he realised that he would not get the necessary parliamentary support for the appointment.

The Supreme Court on November 13 overruled the dissolution of Parliament and later declared it unconstitutional, leading to Rajapaksa's resignation as Prime Minister last week and facilitating the return of Wickremesinghe to his position.

Several portfolios have changed hands in the new cabinet while some former unity government ministers have retained their previous portfolios.

Wickremesinghe holds the portfolios of National Police, Economic Affairs, Resettlement and Rehabilitation, Northern Province Development, Vocational Training and Skills Development and Youth Affairs.

Sagala Ratnayaka took over as the Minister of Ports, Shipping and Southern Development. (UNI)