Inside Stories "Messy" Cabinet Reshuffle" "Harin And Ruwan Refuse To Accept Media Ministry"

February 26, 2018

The second Cabinet reshuffle of the unity government ended up being a damp squib as many ministers were reluctant to accept their new ministries, political sources said. 

"the initial idea was to introduce drastic reforms through a reshuffle. But, in the end, it turned out to be a disaster," they added. 

There was a plan to appoint two ministers as Senior Ministers for Special Project allowing two younger members of the ruling party to take up bigger responsibilities. 

"One of the two ministers was Gamini Jayawickrema Perera and he accepted the offer gracefully. However, the other member was reluctant to go. As a result, the whole idea had to be done away with," a senior government spokesman said. 

"It was also decided to take the Media Ministry away from Mangala Samaraweera. The Ministry was first offered to Harin Fernando but he was reluctant to take it. Then, Ruwan Wijewardena's name was proposed but he was not in a position to take as his family was involved in the newspaper business. And, there was no other suitable candidate. So, it stayed with Samaraweera for the moment," he explained. 

"The same happened with the Law and Order Ministry. It was the President's idea to give the ministry to Sarath Fonseka. The Prime Minister did not object. Then, at the last moment, President Sirisena changed his mind. The other candidate who was proposed for the position, Rajitha Senaratne, was not willing to take it. So, the Prime Minister had to step in and accept the portfolio for the moment," the spokesman added.

He said the reshuffle was "messy" as almost every minister wanted ministries that could generate jobs for their electorates.