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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2586

President curtails powers of State Defence Minister Ruwan Wijewardena : A potential flashpoint between President Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe?

Colombo, 16 February, (Asiantribune.com):

In an unexpected turn of events, President Sirisena, employing the powers of Executive Presidency, made a sudden decision to 'take over' several institutions that came under the purview of Wijewardena's ministry.

On the orders of the President, the Defense Secretary on 13 February, issued a gazette extraordinary to curtail the powers of State Defence Minister Ruwan Wijewardena, who is being promoted by prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as the future leader of the UNP.

According to this gazette notification, of the 15 institutions that had been under him, only four namely Ranaviru Seva Authority (RSA), defence services and command staff school, defense Services College and the national cadets’ corp - remain with him.

Anoma Fonseka, wife of Gen. Sarath Fonseka, is due to take up duties as chairperson of the RSA next week.

In this situation, the three armed forces nor any camp come under minister Wijewardena, and all of them come under the purview of President Maithripala Sirisena, who is the Defense Minister.

It has now been now revealed that President Maithripala Sirisena's decision to "take over" State Minister of Defence Ruwan Wijewardena's powers was a move to manage disgruntled MPs of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party over the Prime Minister's inaction on Minister John Amaratunga.

Although Amaratunga was accused of failing to prevent attack on the Chairman of Wattala Pradeshiya Sabha, no action has been taken by the Prime Minister to seek explanation from the Senior Minister on the matter. In fact, the Wattala PS Chairman, who represents the UPFA, came under attack just minutes after Amaratunga left the PS premises.

Even though the opposition presented a no confidence motion against the Public Order Minister, the process was delayed after the Prime Minister threatened to dissolve Parliament in the face of a defeat.

Recently, Gen. Fonseka told the media that defense responsibilities have been given to those who are without knowledge or experience in the related subjects. Our sources also say that the president has invited Gen. Fonseka to ally with the SLFP in contesting the upcoming general election.

Many political analysts have viewed this move as a potential flashpoint between President Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe as Wijewardena is the cousin of the Prime Minister.

Subjects under State Defence Ministry released

- Asian Tribune -

President Maithripala Srisena being received by State Defence Minister Ruwan Wijewardena when he visited the Ministry of Defence for the first time.
 President curtails powers of State Defence Minister Ruwan Wijewardena :  A potential flashpoint between President Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe?
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