Ministerial appointments: Loyalists rewarded

  • No portfolios for Maithripala Sirisena and his backers
  • SJB duo hold talks with Ranil Wickremesinghe on new UNP leadership and a possible re-merger
  • A 20th Amendment to replace some 18A and 19A provisions
  • Measures to re-boot economy

Swept by a landslide two-thirds majority at the August 5 parliamentary election, the empire hit back.

That politically devastating onslaught for many came in the historic hill capital of Kandy where a new Cabinet of Ministers and State Ministers were sworn in on a cool but cloudy Wednesday. The message it gave a nation became clear as one minister after another, one State Minister following the next, queued up to receive their appointment letters.

It was at the stately Magul Maduwa (Audience Hall) of the sacred Sri Dalada Maligawa where kings and courtiers held court in the days of yore. Armed forces commanders, members of the Buddhist clergy in large numbers, small groups from other faiths, officials and politicians who will guide the destinies of Sri Lanka for the next five years were present amidst the red and white trappings. So were their supporters, some of them noteworthy donors, who underwrote the election campaign.

The three most politically powerful brains in the country who sat at the apex of the Sri Lanka Podujana Nidahas Sandanaya (SLPNS), or the Sri Lanka People’s United Front, led by the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) had been at work, even before the polls began. They were President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, and Basil Rajapaksa. They took time off to take stock of the years past and focus on the present.

The result: those who remained loyal to them and the new-born SLPP were well rewarded. The idea was to ensure their hands were strengthened and to demonstrate that “their loyalty was not in vain.” That seemed to say all others should take note, too.

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