January 12, 2015 / 4:14 PM / 6 years ago

Sri Lanka's new president names 100-day cabinet before polls

Sri Lanka's newly elected President Maithripala Sirisena (C) arrives for his swearing-in ceremony in Colombo January 9, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer

COLOMBO (Reuters) - Sri Lanka’s new president announced an interim cabinet on Monday he said would carry out reforms to fight corruption in the 100 days to a parliamentary election.

Maithripala Sirisena, who unseated Mahinda Rajapaksa in last week’s presidential poll, appointed professionals and veteran politicians to the main ministries.

“We will go for an election in 100 days. So this is a temporary cabinet for the 100-day program. The government will establish a stable cabinet after the elections,” Sirisena told his new cabinet.

“Myself, the prime minister and the party leaders have taken a firm stand that we will take strong action against people who are engaging in illegal activities, corruption, malpractices and cheating, regardless of being a minister, deputy minister or anybody else.”

Sirisena ended a decade of rule by Rajapaksa that critics said had become increasingly authoritarian and marred by nepotism and corruption.

Sirisena has taken the defense portfolio for himself and appointed Ranil Wickremesinghe as both prime minister and minister of reconciliation, policy development and economic affairs.

Veteran politician and accountant Ravi Karunanayake, who served as trade minister in the government headed by Prime Minister Wickremesinghe from 2001 to 2004, was made finance minister.

Sirisena has lifted a ban on news websites, blocked under his predecessor, and promised to enact a Right to Information bill.

Writing by Shihar Aneez; editing by Andrew Roche

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