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Sri Lanka President Rajapaksa inducts 8 more ministers amid crisis, finance minister yet to be appointed

Sri Lanka President Rajapaksa inducts 8 more ministers amid crisis, finance minister yet to be appointed

Colombo: Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Monday expanded the Cabinet by inducting eight more ministers but did not appoint a finance minister once again to handle the worst economic crisis facing the island nation.

The new ministers who were sworn in include Douglas Devananda, Minister of Fisheries, Bandula Gunawardana, Minister of Transportation and Highway, and Mass Media, Keheliya Rambukwella, Minister of Health and Water Supply, Ramesh Pathirana, Minister of Industries, and Mahinda Amaraweera, Minister of Agriculture, Wildlife and Wildlife Conservation, the Economy Next news portal tweeted.

The other ministers were Vidura Wickramanayaka, Minister of Buddhasasana, Religion and Culture, Naseer Ahamed, Minister of Environment, and Roshan Ranasinghe, Minister of Irrigation, Sports and Youth.

The new ministers belong to the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) and its allies -- the SLFP and the EPDP, a Tamil minority party in the north.

Rajapaksa, since the public protests began to rage against him for his resignation, has now reshuffled his Cabinet five times, including forcing the resignation of his elder brother and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.

President Rajapaksa on Friday had expanded his Cabinet to include nine more ministers in an effort to ensure stability until a full Cabinet is formed in the debt-ridden island nation engulfed in the worst economic crisis since its independence.

The ministers were sworn in after a delay of more than a week since the president appointed new Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. Rajapaksa reappointed five-time former Sri Lankan prime minister Wickremesinghe, after his predecessor, the president's brother Mahinda Rajapaksa, resigned in the wake of violent attacks by his supporters on peaceful anti-government protesters.

His resignation automatically dissolved the Cabinet, leaving an administrative vacuum.

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