Sri Lanka president appoints brother to parliament

Chief Regulatory Officer at CSE Renuke Wijayawardhane presenting the listing certificate to Executive Chairperson at Renuka Hotels Shibani Thambiayah

COLOMBO, Sept 19, 2007 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapakse Wednesday appointed his younger brother as a member of parliament, officials said, in a move which tightens the family grip on power. Basil Rajapakse, senior adviser to the president, replaced a ruling party legislator who died last week, parliamentary officials said.

Sri Lanka’s parliamentary system allows political parties to nominate MPs without holding by-elections.

The president’s older brother, Chamal, is a senior minister in charge of ports while another brother is the secretary to the ministry of defence.

The appointment comes as the country remains in the grip of a three-decade-long bitter ethnic conflict in which Tamil Tiger guerrillas have been battling for an independent homeland. President Rajapakse, who is also commander-in-chief of the armed forces, came to power in November 2005.