Breaking what seemed to be a ‘deadlock’ in the national government formation, UNP Chairman and MP elect Malik Samarawickrema said yesterday that an agreement was reached with the SLFP over its mechanism after extensive discussions.
According to the agreement, the new Cabinet of the national government will be sworn in before President Maithripala Sirisena on September 02 after Parliament approves the exact number of members to be in the Cabinet.
Samarawickrema said the SLFP and the UNP have reached a consensus on the portfolios after having a number of discussions with SLFP representatives.
“We came to an agreement subsequent to the friendly and comprehensive discussions held with the Sri Lanka Freedom Party to form a national government,” he said.
Samarawickrema said that the UNP had been insisting on forming a national government during the last presidential and parliamentary elections and having reached a consensus over the formation of the Cabinet, the people’s aspirations have been realized.
“What we wanted to do is to mould a civilized society by creating a new political culture and turn the entire Parliament into a government,” he said.
He said that both parties had to make many sacrifices to reach a consensus for the formation of the Cabinet for the sake of the people.
“We have entered into a process to ensure a better future for the people deviating from the traditional political ideologies,” he said.
Samarawickrema said that both parties prioritized ensuring a better future for the people without focusing on privileges or positions.
“Our prime concern has been to elevate the motherland to a higher echelon of development and not about ministerial portfolios or other perquisites,” he said.
“We had to make many sacrifices to reach a consensus but all these sacrifices were aimed at guaranteeing a better future for the country,” he said.
He said that the new Cabinet is committed to realize the dream of building a new country within 60 months.
Political sources said that the UNP and SLFP failed to reach a consensus over the number of members to be in the Cabinet over the last few days as Parliament has to determine the exact number of Ministers to be in the Cabinet when a national government is formed.
The 19th amendment has a clause that the number of Ministers in any government should not exceed 30 unless a national government is formed in the interest of the public. A proposal is to be tabled before parliament seeking its approval to increase the number of members in the Cabinet of the national government when Parliament meets on September 01.
Sources said that the United National Party and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party has agreed to share the Cabinet portfolios on the basis 30 – 15. Accordingly the UNP will secure 30 seats while SLFP receives 15 slots in the Cabinet.