Sri Lanka president appoints brother to parliament

Directory launched in the presence of Jagath Perera, CA Sri Lanka President, Manil Jayesinghe, CA Sri Lanka Vice President, Harsha Basnayake, Ernst & Young Asia Pacific Transaction Advisory Managing Partner, Aruni Rajakarier, Chairperson of the CA Sri Lanka Women Empowerment Committee, Anoji De Silva, Alternate Chair of the Women Empowerment Committee and Dulani Fernando, CA Sri Lanka CEO

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.