Cabinet reshuffle after mini polls

Senior ministers to get subjects regularised

A Cabinet re-shuffle is on the cards immediately after the local government polls on March 17. UPFA sources said yesterday that a main highlight of the proposed changes would be the re-allocation of subjects currently with other Cabinet Ministers to the seven who were only designated as Senior Ministers.

The seven are former Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake (Good Governance and Infrastructure Facilities), D.E.W. Gunasekera (Human Resources), Athauda Seneviratne (Rural Affairs), P. Dayaratne (Food and Nutrition), A.H.M. Fowzie (Urban Affairs), S.B. Nawinna (Consumer Welfare), Piyasena Gamage (National Assets), Tissa Vitharana (Scientific Affairs) and Sarath Amunugama (International Monetary Co-operation).

These ministers operated from a Senior Minister’s Secretariat under what was officially termed as a “Special Agency.” The rationale for the appointment of Senior Ministers, on the lines of what is followed in Singapore, UPFA sources said, was to provide ministerial positions for younger parliamentarians. This was based on President Rajapaksa’s keenness to build a second tier leadership.

However, the UPFA sources said there has been some re-thinking on the matter. They said some functions of different ministries were now expected to be re-allocated to the Senior Ministers and where necessary their portfolios renamed. The emergence of one or two new faces to the Cabinet is also a strong possibility, these sources said.

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