Making a special statement at a special Parliamentary group meeting of the UNP. Law and Order Minister Sagala Ratnayaka informed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and other members of the group that he did not wish to continue in his current Cabinet portfolio.
“Before and after the elections, various parties raised various issues with regard to the functioning of my ministry. Even President Sirisena, on several occasions, made certain claims. Now, there are discussions about Cabinet reshuffles and other changes within the government. I take this opportunity to inform everyone that I do not wish to continue in my current position,” Ratnayaka, who is also the Chief of Staff of Prime Minister Wickremesinghe, said in his statement.
“This will enable the Prime Minister to appoint a suitable person to my position. My loyalty to the party and the party leadership remains as strong as ever and I will not be hesitant to make any sacrifice for the betterment of the party. If the party leadership prefers, I am willing to function in any other capacity that will allow me to serve the people better,” Ratnayaka added.
However, the Law and Order Minister has announced his decision, just a few days after Sri Lanka experienced one of the most peaceful elections in its recent history. Ratanayaka was also appreciated by his party colleagues for his measures towards resolving salary anomalies in the Police service and democratizing the organisation, which was heavily politicized under the previous administration.
Ratnayaka’s decision will also strengthen the position of the UNP in terms of its negotiations with other political parties to form a UNP-led government.
If the UNP manages to form a new government, the Cabinet will be reduced to 30, according to provisions of the 19th Amendment to the constitution. If the current administration continues in the form of a national government, the number of Cabinet ministers will stand at 55.