Cross-over MP back in Sri Lanka opposition

April 03, 2007 (LBO) – Former United National Party (UNP) parliamentarian Edward Gunasekera, who crossed over to the government and became deputy minister of railways, crossed back to the opposition UNP Tuesday. His move created an uproar that caused the Speaker W.J.M. Lokubandara to adjourn parliament.

Gunasekera tried to make a statement in the House but was prevented from doing so because of the uproar.

This forced Lokubandara to adjourn parliament saying he wanted time to take a decision on the matter.

Gunasekera was among a group of UNP parliamentarians who crossed over to the government this year with many of them being given ministerial portfolios.

The crossover created a ‘jumbo’ cabinet – the biggest cabinet of ministers the island has seen with up to 54 members.

The defections from the UNP weakened the main opposition party and gave the ruling coalition a simple majority in parliament.

As well as the record number of cabinet ministers, 33 were named non-cabinet ministers and 19 deputy ministers. Only nine MPs for the ruling party were not appointed ministers.

UNP MP Kabir Hashim told LBO that Gunasekera came back to the UNP because he realized the difficulties o