Sri Lankan President unveils new Cabinet

Colombo: Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena unveiled a new Cabinet on Thursday, days after Ranil Wickremesinghe was reinstated as Prime Minister in a move that ended a nearly two-month-long political impasse that erupted after his surprising dismissal.

The 29 Ministers chosen by Wickremesinghe, who is also the leader of the United National Party (UNP), were sworn in before Sirisena, according to a statement by the Presidential Press Department.

Sirisena, who triggered a constitutional crisis on October 26 when he replaced Wickremesinghe with former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, retained the Defence portfolio, raising the total number of Ministers to 30, Efe news reported.

Wickremesinghe must approve a budget for the next three months to avoid the government shutting down as Parliament was unable to pass a budget for 2019 because of the political instability.

Sirisena had suspended Parliament after appointing Rajapaksa but dissolved the House and called new elections when he realized that he would not get the necessary parliamentary support for the appointment.

The Supreme Court on November 13 overruled the dissolution of Parliament and later declared it unconstitutional, leading to Rajapaksa’s resignation as Prime Minister last week and facilitating the return of Wickremesinghe to his position.