Cabinet handpicked by GR and MR

By Maheesha Mudugamuwa

The new members to the Cabinet will be exclusively selected by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa from the newly elected members of Parliament (MPs) this week, Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) Secretary Sagara Kariyawasam said.

He told The Sunday Morning that the new Cabinet will be sworn in either on 12 or 14 August as the gazette of the  National List members selected by parties will only be published on Monday (10).

However, at the time the paper went to print, a date was not fixed by the Government for the swearing in of the next Cabinet. When queried, Kariyawasam stressed that the number for the next Cabinet had also not been decided as yet.

At the freshly concluded parliamentary election, the ruling SLPP secured a landslide victory as it won 145 seats with 6,853,693 votes (59.09%) while the Samaji Jana Balawegaya (SJB), led by former Minister Sajith Premadasa, won 54 parliamentary seats with 2,771,984 votes (23.90%).

The National People’s Power (NPP) led by Anura Kumara Dissanayake secured three seats with 445,954 votes (3.84%).

Meanwhile, when contacted by The Sunday Morning, Government Spokesperson and former State Minister Keheliya Rambukwella noted that the number of the next Cabinet would stand at 26 and the government members would be limited to around 45 to 50 members, including all cabinet, deputy, and state ministers.

However, he noted that a final decision had not yet been made by the President on his new Government. Nevertheless, the President was keen on a limited number of portfolios to be given.

Explaining further, Rambukwella said that even though the numbers should be kept low, with the current subjects that falls under one ministry, a single person can’t handle them alone and therefore, he stressed that the number can be increased a little more, without increasing perks and privileges.

“There are some institutions under some ministries that the subject minister had never visited because so many institutions are under a single person. Therefore, the number can be increased further,” he added.

When asked whether the number of cabinet portfolios should be increased, Rambukwella said the total number of government members can be increased for a more productive government.