Number of ministers cannot be increased without forming a national government.

Thursday, 7 February 2019

When the UNP was in the Opposition, they always criticized the size of Rajapaksa cabinet labelling it as a jumbo cabinet.  When they came to power, they brought a constitutional amendment to limit the cabinet to 30 members just to deceive the public and added a proviso that number of cabinet ministers can be increased to any number by Parliament when there is a national government.  The shameless government is now in an attempt to increase the number of ministers to 48 by forming a national government with the single member of the SLMC.  It is not only unethical but also unconstitutional.

According to Article 46(5) of the Constitution, national government means, a government formed by the political party which obtain the highest number of seats in Parliament together with the other political parties.  The word used here is not “party” but “parties”, in plural form.  Therefore, the UNP cannot form a national government only with the SLMC.  They need at least one more political party.

According to the above Article, you cannot bring resolutions to form a national government.  Resolution can be brought to increase the number of ministers.    Forming a national government is a pre-requisite to increase the number of ministers.  In September 2015, the general secretary of the UPFA informed the Speaker that they formed a national government with the UNP.  Thereafter, a resolution passed in Parliament to increase the number of ministers to 48.  Hence, we challenge the government to form a national government first before increasing the number of ministers.