Cabinet reshuffle at 11 a.m. today | Sunday Observer

Cabinet reshuffle at 11 a.m. today

The Government is set to announce major changes to the cabinet of ministers today, as the national unity coalition sets about a ‘correcting course’ after both ruling parties performed poorly at the recently concluded local government elections.

The new ministers and state ministers will be sworn in at 11 a.m. at the Presidential Secretariat.

In a Cabinet reshuffle likely to be announced this afternoon, several relatively junior MPs are expected to be promoted to Cabinet rank or as State Ministers, while key Cabinet ministries will also change hands, but largely within the same party, authoritative sources told the Sunday Observer.

Portfolios currently held by the UNP, including Finance, Media, Highways, Justice and Public Enterprise Development will be retained by the party even though the ministers will change, while the SLFP will also retain the key ministries of agriculture, fisheries and sports, it is learnt. Minister Mangala Samaraweera is likely to retain his portfolios of Finance and Media, while Minister Harin Fernando is likely to add a second ministry to his Telecommunications and Digital Infrastructure portfolio, the Sunday Observer learns.

Meanwhile, UNP General Secretary and current Minister for Public Enterprise Development, Kabir Hashim and Minister of Highways Lakshman Kiriella are likely to swap portfolios, it is learnt.

Even though Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka was widely tipped to be appointed Minister for Law and Order, after both parties analysed its poor performance at the February 10 local government elections as being linked to the failure to bring charges against members of the former Rajapaksa regime on corruption and financial mismanagement, there was no indication that he would be granted the portfolio in today’s reshuffle after late night talks about the changes held on Friday night, highly placed sources told Sunday Observer. Last week, Law and Order Minister Sagala Ratnayake announced he was willing to give up his portfolio ‘in the interests’ of his party.

Minister Thalatha Athukorale is likely to retain the Justice portfolio while Minister Harin Fernando will be given the second portfolio of Foreign Employment, Sunday Observer learns.

State Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe is expected to be promoted to Cabinet rank, while Deputy Ministers Dr Harsha de Silva, Ravindra Samaraweera and Ajith P. Perera are likely to be promoted as State Ministers in today’s reshuffle.


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