UNP-SLFP Ministry to be sworn in on Sept. 2
An agreement between the United National Party and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party has been reached on the issue.
To clear the uncertainty over the formation and composition of the new Council of Ministers, the United National Party (UNP) on Wednesday announced that the swearing in of Ministers would take place on September 2, the day after the new Parliament holds its first sitting and approves the proposal regarding the size of the Cabinet.
Malik Samarawickrama, UNP chairman, told The Hindu, that an agreement had been reached between his party and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) on the issue. It had been decided to take the Parliament nod in view of the legal stipulation on the size of the Cabinet.
As per the 19th Constitutional Amendment, the Cabinet’s size should not exceed 30. Since the proposed government would be a national government, it could approach the Parliament for increasing the size of the Cabinet and this has been prescribed in the 19th Amendment [Article 46 (4)].
Asked about reports in sections of the media that the Cabinet would have 45 members, Mr. Samarawickrama replied that “some discussions have taken place between President [Maithripala Sirisena] and Prime Minister [Ranil Wickremesinghe].”
Though the UNP and its allies emerged as the single largest bloc in the August 17 elections, they were short of seven members to have a simple majority in the 225-member Parliament. On Friday, Mr. Wickremesinghe was sworn in as the Prime Minister. On Monday, three Ministers were administered oath of office as their presence as representatives of the government was felt crucial during the talks with United States’ Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia, Nisha Biswal and her delegation on Tuesday.