The agenda of the first Cabinet meeting of the new government will give top priority to approve proposals for constitutional changes and the presenting of a new budget to Parliament, Daily Mirror learns.
A top source of the government, said the people had given a resounding mandate to change the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, and therefore the new Cabinet will prioritise giving its nod to initiate the process.
The MPS elected for the first time, except one, will receive state ministry portfolios while the 28 Cabinet ministers and the 40 state ministers of the new government will be sworn in today at Kandy in the Magul Maduwa. The first meeting will take place on a later date.
This is the first time that the swearing-in is being held at the Magul Maduwa which is the audience hall of Kandyan kings. The new government has chosen places of historical and religious significance with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa taking oaths near Ruwanweliseya in Anuradhapura. Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa was sworn in at Kelaniya Rajamaha Viharaya which is believed to have been visited by the Buddha in ancient history.
It remains unclear as to those who will be allocated portfolios. All the 15 members in the outgoing Cabinet will receive portfolios. Some of them will get the same portfolios whereas the others will get different ones. In the outgoing Cabinet, they held several portfolios each. But in the new Cabinet, the number of portfolios assigned to each will be reduced. It is learnt that Colombo district MP Dinesh Gunawardane will remain the Foreign Affairs Minister whereas National List MP Prof. G.L. Peiris will get the Education Ministry. Hambantota district MP Chamal Rajapaksa will be appointed the Irrigation Minister.
Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) MPS who were elected on the ticket of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) will receive three Cabinet posts and two state ministry posts. Colombo district MP Bandula Gunawardane is tipped to be the Trade Minister. (Kelum Bandara)