Four ruling party members in Ranil cabinet
Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Saturday appointed four members of the ruling party to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s cabinet, including G.L. Peiris as the foreign minister, even as the Premier called for bipartisanship to tackle the crippling economic crisis.
Dinesh Gunawardena has been sworn in as the minister of public administration, Peiris as foreign minister, Prasanna Ranatunga as the minister of urban development and housing and Kanchana Wijesekara as the minister of power and energy.
It was the first appointment of an all-party interim government announced by Gotabaya.
All four appointees came from Rajapaksa’s Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) party. Peiris was also the foreign minister in the former Mahinda Rajapaksa-led cabinet.
The SLPP has decided to offer crucial support to Wickremesinghe, who has just one seat in parliament, to help him prove a majority in the House.
Most of the Opposition parties in Sri Lanka announced that they would not be joining the interim government led by Wickremesinghe.
The Prime Minister in a letter to the main Opposition party Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) leader Sajith Premadasa asked him to help in tackling the economic crisis by supporting the Wickremesinghe government.
Premadasa had made a last-ditch effort to be the prime minister ahead of Wickremesinghe. Wickremesinghe asked Premadasa to forget political differences in the task of rebuilding the economy to stabilise the country.
Responding to the letter, Premadasa assured the Prime Minister that as a responsible Opposition they would be supporting the government in its efforts to tackle the economic crisis. He has reiterated that his party would press for a government without the Rajapaksa brothers.
Premadasa’s SJB had resolved not to be part of the government claiming that
Wickremesinghe lacked public approval to be the premier.