That is because party chairman Kabir Hashim and his predecessor Malik Samarawickrama have warned Wickremesinghe that party backbenchers would oppose, if Karunanayake was appointed a minister.
When contacted, a senior official of the president’s office said the president was yet to receive a recommendation from the PM that Karunanayake be given a ministry, as reported by certain media.
More UNP deputy ministers?
Meanwhile, Wickremesinghe has promised deputy ministerial positions for several backbenchers in order to appease them, say Sirikotha sources.
He gave them the promise when the no-confidence motion was moved against him.
In the cabinet reshuffle, the cabinet membership was reduced from 47 to 42 and the deputy ministerial positions allotted for the UNP have now been filled.
Therefore, the PM has instructed Samarawickrema to discuss with the president about getting for the UNP some of the deputy ministerial positions allotted to the SLFP.