The Cabinet of Ministers of the new Government was sworn in on September 4 (Friday) at the Presidential Secretariat. Forty two people’s representatives who were elected to Parliament contesting from the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) and United National Front for Good Governance (UNFGG) took oaths as ministers. President Maithripala Sirisena, wishing all the Ministers who received portfolios, urgent them to respect the new political culture and not to engage in corrupt activities even in secret.
President Sirisena reminded that an agreement has been signed between the two parties for a term of two years, and that it will help draft national policies irrespective of party politics. He added that these policies will develop the country. “The experiences and results which we are to receive during that period will guide us on how to rule the country in the following three years. It will be the same government which would rule the country during the next five years as a dissolution of Parliament will not take place,” the President added.
He also asked everyone to support this process. He recalled the difficulties they experienced when appointing the Cabinets in 1994 and 2010 and said that he was satisfied with the contributions made by the two parties when this Cabinet was formed. President Sirisena said that the appointment of Chairmen and Director Boards of state entities will hereafter be made via a committee appointed by him and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. The supervision of institutes that come under the ministries will also be done by this committee.
Sirisena also revealed that according to the agreement signed with the UNFGG, UPFA is getting 15 ministerial posts and 18 deputy and state ministers’ posts. “The UNP will get 33 slots of which seven have to be given to its affiliated parties,” he said.
Prime Minister Wickremesinghe who addressed the gathering said that both the major parties have got together for a national task forgetting petty political differences. “This exercise will help us face both the local and international issues with the confidence that we’ll achieve our targets,” he said. He also explained that what they practice is not the ‘national government’ theory of England, but the theory put into practice by Germany. “My plan is to turn all parliamentarians into active members in decision-making as well as to develop a national framework. This is an experiment and if you all work together, success is an easy target,” the Premier told the new ministers.