Three ministers sworn in to Sri Lanka’s government

Colombo, Sep 9 (IANS) Three new cabinet ministers were on Wednesday sworn in to Sri Lanka’s new national government, the president’s media unit said.

The ministers were sworn in before President Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential Secretariat in capital Colombo, Xinhua news agency reported.

The ministers included Faizer Mustapha, who was sworn in as the minister of local government and provincial councils, Vijith Wijayamuni Soysa as the minister of irrigation and water management and Malik Samarawickreme, who was sworn in as the development strategies and international trade minister.

With the appointment of the three ministers, Sri Lanka’s new government now consists of 46 ministers with 42 ministers having been sworn in last week and Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera being sworn in late last month.

Although Sri Lanka’s constitution allows the appointment of only 30 ministers, parliamentary approval to form a larger cabinet was sought by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe last week.

The matter, which was taken up for debate, was passed with a total of 143 votes in favour in the 225-member parliament.

Sri Lanka’s government consists of the ruling United National Party (UNP) led by Wickremesinghe and the opposition Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) which is led by President Sirisena. The two parties have agreed to work together in the new parliament.

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