President Gotabaya Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka has sworn in a cabinet of 25 ministers as well as 39 powerful state ministers, after a landslide victory at last week’s parliamentary election, officials said on Wednesday.
President Rajapaksa’s elder brother, Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Prime Minister in the previous Cabinet, was named finance minister, while the president himself retained the defence portfolio.
Also, Chamal Rajapaksa, the president’s eldest brother and the former speaker of parliament, was sworn in as minister of internal affairs, responsible for the police force.
The former prime minister’s son was also sworn-in as a minister.
The ceremony took place at the historic Buddhist temple in Kandy, 117 kilometres east of the capital Colombo.
The constitution allows the government to swear in up to 30 cabinet ministers.
The state’s ministry positions are less powerful overall but cover separate portfolios and are, therefore, important nonetheless.
The ruling Sri Lanka Peoples’ Party (SLPP) obtained 145 of 225 seats in last Wednesday’s parliamentary elections, receiving 59 per cent of the vote.
The main opposition United Peoples’ Party (SJB) won 54 seats with 24 per cent of the votes cast.
President Rajapaksa has since obtained the support of five more members of parliament and already sealed a two-third parliamentary supermajority, potentially giving him the votes to amend the constitution.
Parliament is scheduled to meet for the first time on Aug. 20.