Nine Cabinet Ministers and one state minister were re-allocated fresh ministerial portfolios in the morning of Monday May 22nd what was the first major re-shuffle since the formation of the current coalition Government headed by President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe took office in August 2015.
President Sirisena himself was the first to make the announcement that nine cabinet minister and a State minister had taken oaths before him after accepting their new portfolios.
President Sirisena like the US President Donald Trump took to Twitter and tweeted “Nine Cabinet Ministers and a State Minister took oaths in their new portfolios a while ago”.
The “new” re-shuffled and re-appointed nine Cabinet Ministers and one State minister are –
1. Mangala Samaraweera – Minister of Finance and Mass Media.
2. S.B.Dissanayake – Minister of Social Empowerment, Welfare and Kandyan heritage.
3. W.D.J Seneviratne – Minister of Labour, Trade Union relations and Sabaragamuwa Development.
4. Ravi Karunanayake – Minister of Foreign Affairs
5. Mahinda Samarasinghe – Minister of Ports and Shipping.
6. Gayantha Karunathilleke – Minister of Lands and Parliamentary Reforms.
7. Arjuna Ranatunga – Minister of Petroleum Resources Development.
8. Chandima Weerakkody – Minister of Skilled Development and Vocational Training.
9. Tilak Marapanna – Minister of Development Assignments.
10. Mahinda Amaraweera – State Minister of Mahaweli Development.
Contrary to speculative reports in sections of the media that President Sirisena is acting on his own without consulting Prime Minister Wickremesinghe in the cabinet re-shuffle of Monday May 22nd 2017, it is learnt reliably that the important decision to bring about changes in the allocation of certain portfolios as well as re- designation of some departments coming under purview of particular ministries was not taken by the President alone.
Instead of being a unilateral decision of the President, the mini cabinet re-shuffle decision is a trilateral one taken together by President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in conjunction with former President Chandrika Kumaratuga stated well-informed sources.
The sources also stated authoritatively that President Sirisena and Prime minister Wickremesinghe arrived at a joint decision after much discussion on re-allocating ministerial portfolios and departments which was endorsed by former President Chandrika Kumaratunga. There was no question of President Sirisena going ahead with the reshuffle against the wishes of Prime Minister Wickremesinghe or taking a decision without consulting him reiterated the sources
Though Premier Ranil was earlier reluctant to agree to a re-shuffle of portfolios held by United National Party (UNP) members, he had later been amenable to changes it is learnt. Informed sources said that in the final analysis all provisions of the 19th Constitutional amendment were adhered to in the cabinet re-shuffle,
After unofficial discussion the Constitutional requirement of the President having to consult the Prime Minister officially was met. All the ministerial changes announced by President Sirisena were formally recommended by Prime Minister Wickremesinghe it is reliably learnt.
DBS Jeyaraj can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org