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* Not more than 35 ministers in Sri Lanka's next cabinet, President says
Thu, Feb 25, 2010, 12:04 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Feb 25, Colombo: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa says if the ruling party government is elected in April it would have a smaller cabinet and he would remove several ministers who has not done their part in the present cabinet.

"One of my goals for the next government is to reduce the cabinet to 35 ministers. Also I will remove several ministers, based on their performance and some big names may not get minister posts in the new government," the President told ColomboPage.

Sri Lanka's cabinet, proportionately one of the largest cabinets in the world, has been a burden on the country's economy. Cost of maintaining a minister is very high in Sri Lanka as they enjoy perks and privileges including a large number of personal staff, security, and vehicles enjoyed by its ministers.

Sri Lanka's current government had 51 cabinet ministers, 39 non cabinet ministers and 19 deputy ministers.

President Rajapaksa says his next task is to reduce the waste and corruption in the government and reducing the size of the cabinet is the first step.

A source close to the President said the President has received so many complaints of Ministers abusing their privileges and spending heavily with their lavish lifestyles.

"President really wants to reduce the huge spending and the corruption by some ministers and he is determined to take appropriate action," the source said.

Addressing the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) party's district organisers' meeting in Badulla recently the President said the government has no intention of having large cabinets in the future.

President's resolve to cut back the ministerial portfolios may however, disappoint some recent crossovers, a political analyst in the country said.

The ruling United People's Freedom Alliance expects to secure two-third majority at the upcoming general elections in April to facilitate necessary constitutional reforms.

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