Sri Lanka appoints new minister for ports and aviation

May 16, 2007 (LBO) — Sri Lanka Wednesday appointed Chamal Rajapakse, brother of President Mahinda Rajapakse, as the new minister of ports and aviation filling a post held by sacked minister Mangala Samaraweera, officials said. President Rajapakse had sworn in the new minister early Wednesday, prior to meeting the heads of newspaper editors at his heavily guarded ‘Temple Trees’ office in Colombo.

Media Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa was also present during the swearing-in-ceremony, the president’s media co-ordinator, Chandrapala Liyanage said.

Chamal Rajapakse was earlier the minister for irrigation and water management, and the president’s office declined to say if he would hold on to his old job as well.

President Rajapakse had earlier not filled the portfolio in the hope of wooing back Samaraweera, who was sacked along with Sripathi Sooriarachchi and Anura Bandaranaike.

The former foreign minister was a key ally of Rajapakse during the 2005 November presidential election campaign but fell out of favour over ideological differences.

Bandaranaike subsequently patched up and was given back his portfolio of National Heritage Minister.

The fate of Sooriarachchi, a non-cabinet port minister,