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Leading News from Sri Lanka::

* Notable omissions from Sri Lanka's Cabinet and the panel of Deputy Ministers
Fri, Apr 23, 2010, 10:58 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Apr 23, Colombo: Several notable persons have been omitted from the Cabinet newly appointed by the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

One of the most prominent absentee is Ceylon Workers' Congress leader Arumugam Thondaman who held cabinet portfolios in all parliaments since 1994. However, CWC national list MP Muttu Sivalingam has been appointed as the Deputy Minister of Economic Development under Minister Basil Rajapaksa.

Former Science and Technology Minister Tissa Vitharana who represents the leftist Lanka Samasamaja Party has also been omitted from the Cabinet. Sri Lanka Communist Party has been given one Cabinet portfolio and a post of Deputy Minister for D.E.W. Gunasekara and Chandrasiri Gajadheera respectively. Communist Party elected one MP and it was given a national list slot too. Samasamaja Party also won one seat and Vitharana was appointed to parliament via national list. He was the Chairman of the All Party Representative Committee that the President appointed to seek solution for the ethnic problem.

Jathika Hela Urumaya that won two seats was given a national list slot as well but only former environment minister Champika Ranawaka was given a Cabinet post. Many expected Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thero would swear in at least as a Deputy Minister.

A number of prominent figures of the ruling coalition contested from Kandy district have not been given minister posts citing a disciplinary investigation that is underway regarding the election malpractices in Nawalapitiya electorate prompting the Election Commissioner to summon a re-poll. Former cabinet Ministers Keheliya Rambukwella and Sarath Amunugama are among them while S.B. Dissanayake and former non-cabinet Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage that topped the preferential votes in the district are expected to be given minister or deputy minister positions.

Former non-cabinet minister Naveen Dissanayake, a son of late United National Party stalwart Gamini Dissanayake, was also omitted from the panel of Ministers and Deputy Ministers.

Meanwhile, political analysts speculate that there will be few more additions to the Cabinet in near future.

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