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Ministerial portfolios: SLPP takes lion’s share; SLFP further weakened

Pilleyan, two SJB MPs among 37 new State Ministers

Former President and leader of the SLFP Maithripala Sirsisena MP yesterday (08) lost six more from his parliamentary group when they switched their allegiance to the government. Five of them contested the last general election on the SLPP ticket and one was accommodated on the SLPP National List.

Jagath Pushpakumara, Ranjith Siyambalapitiya, Lasantha Alagiyawanna, Shantha Bandara, Dr. Suren Raghavan (only SLFP National List member) and Chamara Sampath Dasanayake were sworn is as State Ministers.SLFP sources said that attempts made by the leadership to thwart the move hadn’t been successful.

They were among 37 lawmakers who received portfolios. Earlier, senior SLFPers, Nimal Siripala and Mahinda Amaraweera accepted cabinet portfolios. The latest setback has reduced the 14-member SLFP group to six.

Of the main Opposition Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB), Diana Gamage (National List) and Arvind Kumar (Badulla District) accepted ministerial portfolios. The 54-member SJB earlier lost Harin Fernando and Manusha Nanayakkara to President Wickremesinghe.MEP member Sisira Jayakody and Yuthukama member Anupa Piyum Pasqual (both contested the last general election on the SLPP ticket), were among the newly appointed State Ministers.

Former LTTE combat commander and ex-Chief Minister of the Eastern Province Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan aka Pilleyan of the Thamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal, too, received a ministerial portfolio.Twenty eight SLPPers received ministerial portfolios. In terms of the 20th Amendment to the Constitution as well as the proposed 22 A, 30 cabinet ministers and 40 non-cabinet ministers can be appointed.An interesting feature is President Wickremesinghe as Finance Minister swore in two State Ministers (Shehan Semasinghe and Ranjith Siyambalapitiya) representing the SLPP and SLFP, respectively. Of the Viyathmaga activists, only Sita Arambepola received a ministerial portfolio (SF)

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