Thirty cabinet ministers and 40 state and deputy ministers from the UNFGG will take their oaths tomorrow, informed sources said.
Earlier the swearing in of some of the ministers had been scheduled for today. But the appointment of the new Cabinet was delayed as the two main parties -- the United National Party (UNP) and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) -- had been unable to agree on the selection of members and the assignation of subjects, sources said.
This issue will be further discussed between President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe when they return to Colombo this evening.
According to the 19th Amendment, Cabinet has to be restricted to 30 members. But it could be increased if a national government is set up with the approval of parliament.
Ministers from the SLFP will be sworn in after parliament meets on September 1. The swearing-in of ministers has to be completed within two weeks of the first parliamentary session.
The UNP is reportedly insisting that all SLFP MPs join the national unity government if its members are to be given ministerial posts. The party has taken up that position because a section of the SLFP is opposed to the national unity government concept.
A senior UNPer, who wished to remain anonymous, said his party was ready to offer even 16 ministries to the SLFP to form a national unity government.
“We do not want a section of the SLFP to join the government and another section to remain in the opposition. We want the entire party to support the government. Otherwise, we will look to the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) for support,” he said.(Kelum Bandara)