Sajith Premadasa, leader of the United National Party (UNP) and the former presidential candidate who lost his seat to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was named as the leader of Opposition on December 6 in the Sri Lankan Parliament. The Speaker's office said that he will be officially declared as Opposition Leader on January 3, 2020.
After the party meeting held on Thursday, United National Party leader and former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe nominated Premadasa in his place as the Opposition Leader. The name of the Opposition Leader will be announced in the parliamentary session when President Gotabaya Rajapaksa will discuss his policy statement in the Parliament. Earlier the position of the Opposition leader was held by Wickremesinghe, 70, since 1994 excluding short periods between 2001-2004 and 2015 to November this year when he was elected as the Prime Minister.
On the other hand, the newly appointed President Gotabaya Rajapaksa expanded his new Cabinet by appointing 35 state ministers and three deputy ministers on November 27. The Cabinet, however, does not include representatives from the Muslim and the Tamil minorities. The newly formed Cabinet will be responsible for the country's governance until the next parliamentary elections to be held next year. Chamal Rajapaksa, who was part of the initial 16 member Cabinet has been appointed by the President as the new Minister of State for Defence. On the other hand, the President's nephew, Namal Rajapaksa and Mahinda Rajapaksa, son of Prime Minister were not allotted any position in the Cabinet.
The new 38 member Cabinet consists of no representative from the Tamil and Muslim minorities. Also, the Cabinet lacks a women representative. However, the previous 16-member Cabinet included two Tamils and a woman. While announcing the Cabinet, Gotabaya Rajapaksa said, “These positions should not be treated as privileges, these are all positions to fulfil our manifesto promises and implement our work for the betterment of people.”