The President has decided to hold a Cabinet reshuffle after the conclusion of the provincial council elections and appoint a new Prime Minister after taking into consideration the deteriorating health condition of Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne, sources from Temple Trees said.
The President has summoned the Prime Minister’s son and assured that his father would be given a dignified position although he retires from politics.
Therefore, the Prime Minister is likely to retire from the National List slot he holds in parliament.
However, a senior government minister said the President is facing a difficulty in naming the next Prime Minister. SLFP Secretary Minister Maithripala Sirisena, Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa and Defence and Urban Development Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa are engaged in a cold war over securing the post of Prime Minister.
The cold war has come out in the open with the attempt to appoint Gotabhaya as the SLFP’s Kotte organizer and to appoint him to parliament through the National list.
It is learnt that senior government officials have publicly opposed any move to appoint Gotabhaya as Prime Minister. However, Gotabhaya has the blessings of the President, MP Namal Rajapaksa and First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa.
A senior SLFP member however said that the party would face an internal crisis regardless of who is appointed to the post of Prime Minister.
The President is therefore likely to look for an alternative and his focus is on Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa.
Nevertheless, the rest of the members of the First family are doubtful of Yapa as an alternative given his relaxed nature.
They believe that the person to be appointed as the Prime Minister should be some one controlled by the President.