INDIA

Sri Lankan President Announces Parliamentary Polls In 3 Months

12/01/2015 9:56 PM IST | Updated 17/03/2016 9:18 PM IST

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka's new president appointed his Cabinet on Monday and announced he will call parliamentary elections in three months.

President Maithripala Sirisena named the 26-member Cabinet and said its task will be to implement his campaign pledges over the next 100 days before the parliamentary polls are held.

He warned the ministers of stern action if they are involved in corruption.

Sirisena won a surprise victory over longtime leader Mahinda Rajapaksa in last week's presidential election. He promised during the campaign to overhaul the constitution to transfer many of the president's extensive powers to the Parliament, judiciary and independent commissions. He also vowed cut taxes on food and fuel to bring their prices down.

Rajapaksa was highly criticized for having earlier changed the constitution to scrap a two-term presidential limit and expand his executive powers.

Until a few weeks ago, Rajapaksa was widely expected to easily win his third term in office. But Sirisena - his former friend and health minister - defected from the ruling party in November, and gathered the support of other defecting lawmakers, opposition parties and many of Sri Lanka's ethnic minorities, making the election a fierce political battle.

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