Sri Lanka minister gets opposition post: official

Dec 08, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s main opposition United National Party has appointed a rebel member who is a government minister as its deputy leader, while a new post of assistant leader was also created, a senior party official said. UNP General secretary Tissa Attanayake said Karu Jayasuriya, who had the public administration portfolion of the ruling administration of Mahinda Rajapaksa will be deputy leader.

There had been widespread speculation that Jayasuriya would return to the UNP, giving rise to expectations that parliament would be dissolved soon after the budget.

Rukman Senanayake has been appointed to the post of assistant leader, while the post of party chairman, earlier held by Senanayake went to Gamini Jayawickrema Perera.

John Amaratunga has been appointed the senior deputy chairman.

S B Dissanayake, whose civic rights were deprived on a contempt case, has been proposed as a future chief ministerial candidate for the central provincial council, Attanayake said.

Several provincial councils are expected to be dissolved soon, to test the waters ahead of a possible general election, political analysts have said.

The return of Jayasuriya and a number of as yet undisclosed members is expected to