UNF, President yet to agree on Law and Order, Media portfolios

Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe

The appointment of the Cabinet, scheduled for this morning, is in the balance as the UNF and President Maithripala Sirisena have not reached an agreement on the law and order and media portfolios, according to political sources.

As the Cabinet has to be restricted to 30, in terms of the Constitution, unless it is a National Government, former Ministers Mano Ganeshan, Rishad Bathiudeen and Malik Samarawickrema, have indicated that they were willing to sit it out, to help Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe include other aspirants such as Ravi Karunanayake and Range Bandara, who played a major role in thwarting attempts by the Maithripala-Mahinda combine to trigger crossovers with a view to obtaining a parliamentary majority, after President Sirisena appointed Mahinda Rajapaksa as Prime Minister on October 26.

Sources said that Wickremesinghe was faced with a difficult task as he would have to accommodate crossovers from the UPFA such as MPs Wijith Wijayamuni Soysa, Laksman Seneviratne and Indika Bandaranaike as well .”Whether all three would be given Cabinet appointments is left to be seen. There is also the possibility of a few more SLFP MPs joining the UNF Government.”

Meanwhile, the UNP Working Committee is scheduled to meet on Friday to consider its leader and PM Wickremesinghe’s proposal for forming a new alliance called the Democratic National Front (DNF) to contest future polls.

Among the other members of the proposed DNF would be the Jathika Hela Urumaya, Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, the Tamil Progressive Alliance and All Ceylon Makkal Congress. Some SLFP MPs are also expected to join the new front.

Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga, who played a major role in making Maithripala Sirisena the Joint Oppositions candidate at the last Presidential Election and has openly expressed dissatisfaction over the conduct of President Sirisena since October 26, was working behind the scenes to form a core SLFP group to team up with like minded forces at the next general and presidential polls, according to sources.

(Source: The Island)