President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday effected a mini, yet decisive reshuffle of the Cabinet of Ministers, reinforcing his authority in the Coalition Government despite reservations from UNP leader and Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe.
Contrary to expectations of a wide-scale change, what the country saw yesterday was a revision of the status quo of nine Ministers, most notably the swap of portfolios between the Ministers of Finance and Foreign Affairs.
The controversial yet hands-on Ravi Karunanayake was removed from his Finance portfolio and given the Foreign Minister title while his predecessor Mangala Samaraweera, widely perceived as being “Mr. Clean” and “apolitical”, was handed the mantle of managing the country’s finances along with the media.
- Reinforces his control by reshuffling nine portfolios
- Swaps Finance and Foreign Ministers – Mangala as Finance and Media and Ravi K as Foreign
- Captain Cool Arjuna moved out of Ports and Shipping to oversee Petroleum
- Mahinda Sam gets crucial Ports and Shipping portfolio
- Tilak Marapana makes a comeback with portfolio of Minister of Development Assignments
- Deputy Ministers to be appointed after Sirisena returns from trip Down Under
- Sirisena says Cabinet reshuffle will provide new impetus for Sri Lanka’s development
- Mixed reactions to reshuffle from civil society leaders
The reshuffle comes as Sirisena faces mounting criticism from the international community over the slow pace of promised reforms and delays in addressing Sri Lanka’s wartime past through a mediated reconciliation process.
Expressing confidence in his appointments through a message on Twitter, President Sirisena said: “This Cabinet reshuffle will provide a new impetus to Sri Lanka’s development.”