NEW MINISTERS (99 Jul 07)
President Chandrika Kumaratunga prior to her departure to Nepal, appointed a number of deputy ministers. Earlier she had appointed Mr. Mahinda Wijesekera and Mrs. Sumedha Jayasena as cabinet ministers. With the new appointments the total number of ministers and deputy ministers has increased to seventy one. The president has been so generous that in six of the ministries there are two deputy ministers in each.
It is said the appointments were made so that the ministers and the deputy ministers will have more power to organise their electorates before the forth coming elections. The elections have to be held before August 2000 but many predict a snap election before the end of the year.
However the president has still not decided whether to hold the presidential elections before the parliamentary elections. There are some ministers who think that if Mrs. Kumaratunga win the presidential election she may not give nominations to them at a subsequent parliamentary election and they would like to see that the parliamentary elections are held first.
Whatever Mrs. Kumaratunga may decide the national movement will have to make sure that there are sufficient number of members elected to the parliament so that they will become the deciding factor. Neither the UNP nor the PA in the present form cannot be expected to represent the interests of the Sinhala people and the national movement has to select a national political leader and get ready for the elections. That is the way to defeat racists like Thondaman and Ashraf and those in the national movement who advocate a boycott of elections would only help the Tamil and Muslim racists.