Sri Lanka president retains finance, cuts size of new cabinet

Apr 23, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa retained the finance and defence portfolios in a new cabinet appointed after parliamentary polls and added the ministries of ports, aviation and highways seen as critical in a post-war revival. A government statement said the cabinet consists of 37 ministers and 39 deputies, much smaller than the previous one which was criticized as being too large.

“The previous Cabinet comprised 51 ministers, 39 non- Cabinet Ministers and 19 deputy ministers,” it said.

Rajapaksa appointed his younger brother Basil, previously an influential presidential advisor and elected to parliament for the first time, as minister of economic development.

Gamini Lakshman Peiris was given the portfolio of foreign affairs, Susil Premajayantha petroleum industries, Rishad Bathiyutheen industry and commerce, Mahinda Samarasinghe plantations

Jeewan Kumaratunga was made minister of post and telecommunications, Nimal Siripala de Silva minister of irrigation and water resource development, and Dinesh Gunawardena minister of water supply and drainage.

Douglas Devananda got the portfolio of traditional industries and small enterprise development, Wimal Weerawansa construction, engineering services, housing