Sri Lanka’s new Cabinet sworn in

26 new ministers were sworn into Sri Lanka’s new Cabinet on Wednesday after the country recently held a Parliamentary election which saw the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) led by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa winning a landslide victory, securing a two-thirds majority in Parliament.

The ministers took oath in front of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in a grand ceremony held in the central hills of Kandy, Xinhua news agency reported.

Along with the Cabinet ministers, 39 state ministers were also sworn in.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa retained the Defence Ministry. Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa was appointed as the Minister of Finance, Urban Development, Housing, Buddhist Affairs, Religious and Cultural Affairs.

Dinesh Gunawardena was sworn in as Minister of Foreign Affairs. Prasanna Ranatunga was sworn in as Minister of Tourism and Keheliya Rambukwella was sworn in as Minister of Mass Media.

Some of the notable state ministers sworn in were Chamal Rajapaksa who took oaths as State Minister of Internal Security, Home Affairs and Disaster Management, and Shehan Semasinghe who was sworn in as State Minister of Samurdhi (prosperity), Micro Finance, Self-Employment and Business Development.

Sri Lanka held its Parliamentary election on August 5 under strict health guidelines amid Covid-19 pandemic which has infected over 2,800 people in the island country so far.

The election was held to elect a new 225-member Parliament.

SLPP won a landslide victory by securing 145 seats, while the United People’s Power, led by former presidential candidate Sajith Premadasa polled in as runner-up by securing 54 seats.

Sri Lanka’s new Parliament will convene on August 20.