Sri Lanka political crossovers shake government ahead of budget vote

Nov 15, 2007 (LBO) – A Sri Lankan junior cabinet minister Thursday lashed out at an opposition party lawmaker who joined the government, revealing more cracks in the ruling coalition ahead of a crucial budget vote next week. Minister of Justice Dilan Perera, a so-called ‘non-cabinet’ minister in President Mahinda Rajapakse’s jumbo cabinet said he was willing to risk being sacked from his ministerial portfolio for expressing his views.

Perera sad he was resigning from the central committee of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), the main party in the ruling coalition as a mark of protest.

He told our sister news website, Vimasuma.dom, that he was strongly opposed to Mahinda Ratnathilake, a member of parliament for the Ratnapura district in the main opposition United National Party (UNP), joining the government.

Ratnathilake announced he was crossing over to the government soon after meeting President Mahinda Rajapakse Thursday morning, presidential office sources said.

Rajapakse has been trying to woo opposition lawmakers to bolster his numbers in parliament while the UNP too has been making similar overtures to ruling party lawmakers.

The latest defections indicate the numbers game in parliament is h