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Sri Lanka's new President forms 27-member cabinet

 Sri Lanka`s newly-elected President Maithripala Sirisena formed a 27-member cabinet along with nine deputy ministers here Monday.



Colombo: Sri Lanka`s newly-elected President Maithripala Sirisena formed a 27-member cabinet along with nine deputy ministers here Monday.

Sirisena retained the defence portfolio in line with his executive powers but handed out top positions to a host of politicians from his coalition, predominantly the United National Party (UNP), Xinhua reported.

Eleven state ministers were also sworn in though their powers are yet to be defined.

UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, in addition to being the prime minister, was also given the portfolio of planning and economic affairs while the post of finance minister was handed over to Ravi Karunanayake.

Long term aides were also given positions such as highways and investment promotion, home affairs, justice, tourism and education.

Ministers who were part of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa`s government and crossed over with Sirisena were also given cabinet positions with power and energy as well as health ministry portfolios being among those allocated to them.

Minority Muslim parties were also included with trade and urban development going to them. The main Tamil party, Tamil National Alliance (TNA), had declined to accept cabinet positions. 

However, addressing the newly-appointed officials Sirisena insisted this was only an interim cabinet that would focus on implementing the new president`s 100-day plan that aims to trim executive powers and establish a parliamentary style of governance under a prime minister.

Once the three month period is over, Sirisena has pledged to dissolve parliament with a permanent cabinet being formed afterwards by the new prime minister who would be the leader from the party that wins the most number of seats.

"You must work to win the respect of the people. I know that some of you may not be happy with the positions you have been given but understand all power is transitory. Do not be greedy for power," he told his new cabinet.

"I also warn you that if anyone is ever caught engaging in corruption I will take the toughest measures of the law against them, whether they be cabinet minister, state minister or deputy minister," he said.

Sirisena beat Rajapaksa with over 445,000 votes in the presidential elections last Thursday. 

From Zee News

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