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* Cabinet positions based on seniority and experience, Sri Lanka President says
Fri, Apr 16, 2010, 09:01 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Apr 16, Colombo: Ministerial portfolios in the new cabinet will be given to most suitable and efficient members elected for the seventh parliament from the United People's Freedom Alliance, Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa said.

In an interview to the local Sinhala daily Divaina, the President said the preference will be given to the ministers with seniority and maturity.

President Rajapaksa said the cabinet will be limited to 35 to 38 ministers. Suggestions and opinions of high ranking government officials are being sought in appointing ministers, he added.

The previous UPFA government came under constant criticism from opposition for its jumbo-sized cabinet. The ruling coalition's election campaign at the recent general elections requested a two-third majority from the constituents to bring about the political reforms and to reduce the size of the cabinet.

Responding to a question on offering ministerial portfolios to the newly-elected parliamentarians, the President said it is mandatory for the new MPs to obtain more experience in the political process.

Regarding the Speaker position, the President said a decision will be made after considering the opinions of parliamentarians.

Meanwhile a special meeting under the patronage of the President will be held on Sunday the 18th at the Presidential Secretariat for the newly elected MPs of the UPFA, former Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said.

The new parliamentary members have been notified of the meeting, Minister Abeywardena added. An expert in parliamentary procedure will address the novice MPs, he said.

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