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* More ministers may be appointed to Sri Lanka cabinet
Sat, Apr 24, 2010, 08:01 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Apr 24, Colombo: Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa may appoint few more ministers to the down-sized cabinet in the next few days, government sources say.

President Rajapaksa on Friday swore-in 37 ministers and 39 deputy ministers while keeping four important portfolios, Defence, Finance and Planning, Ports and Aviation and Highways under him.

However, a number of prominent figures of the ruling coalition have been omitted in the selection of cabinet posts.

The most notable absentee was Ceylon Workers' Congress leader Arumugam Thondaman who held cabinet portfolios in all parliaments since 1994. Thondaman is expected to receive a ministerial portfolio soon, sources said yesterday.

Meanwhile, the sources say President will appoint three more ministers and a deputy minister from the Kandy district.

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 that prompted 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 who topped the preferential votes in the district are expected to be given minister or deputy minister positions.

Even with the speculated expansion, the cabinet will remain smaller compared to the jumbo cabinet of the previous government that had 128 members with the deputy ministers.

The ruling United People's Freedom Alliance sought two-thirds majority during the recent general election to bring out necessary constitutional reforms without having to solicit support from crossovers, an action that has led to the in the previous government.


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