In his first act as Sri Lanka's new Prime Minister, Mr Junius Jayawardene, has named his Cabinet, which includes one woman.
In his first act as Sri Lanka's new Prime Minister, Mr Junius Jayawardene, has named his Cabinet, which includes one woman. Afterwards, the Prime Minister and his 20 member team were quickly sworn in by the country's President. And while Mr Jayawardene was busy getting down to the tasks of government Sri Lankans living in the capital Colombo have been enjoying a day off from work because of a Government order to close down the city.
SYNOPSIS: The streets were deserted. With commercial life in Colombo brought to a standstill, there was little reason for anyone to venture into the city centre. The Government ban was ordered to lessen the likelihood of any violence resulting from victory celebrations.
Any crowds there were, gathered outside the new Prime Minister's house. Inside, Mr Jayawardene told reporters that his Government's first priority was to bring down the high cost of food and other essential consumer items, and to revive the economy. To see this is done, the Prime Minister has appointed himself as the Minister in charge of planning and Economic affairs as well as Planning Implementation.
Mr Jayawardene also told reporters that he was slightly embarrassed by the crushing extent of his victory over the party of the former Prime Minister, Mrs Bandaranaike. His Socialist United National Party chalked up the largest majority ever obtained by any Sri Lankan Government, capturing 134 of 168 seats in Parliament.
Mr Jayawardene said he also intended to scrap the current Parliamentary system of Government and replace it with a Presidential system along French lines with himself as head. Sri Lanka's relations with other countries isn't expected to change much under the 70 year old premier, but he did say there would be less emphasis on non-aligned politics and more Sri Lankan problems.
The coming to power of Mr Jayawardene, has meant the end of an era. Mrs. Bandaranaike was the first in a line of women who took over the running of their countries'. Now, at least for a while, she is the last.