December 20, 2018 / 4:53 AM / a year ago

Sri Lanka leader keeps control of police as alleged assassination plot probed - minister

FILE PHOTO: Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena speaks during a meeting with Foreign Correspondents Association at his residence in Colombo, Sri Lanka November 25, 2018. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte/File Photo

COLOMBO (Reuters) - Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena appointed a 30-member cabinet on Thursday, retaining control over the police while they investigate an alleged plot to kill him that triggered a row with the premier and led to a lengthy political crisis.

The cabinet announcement follows the reinstatement of Ranil Wickremesinghe as prime minister after the Supreme Court threw out Sirisena’s order to dissolve parliament and hold elections.

Sirisena had earlier fired Wickremesinghe, accusing his government of failing to seriously investigate the assassination plot. Wickremesinghe denies the allegation.

The president retained control over the law and order ministry.

“President kept the police with him temporarily till the investigations over the plot to kill him are over and till some reforms are introduced,” said Rajitha Senaratne, who was reappointed health minister.

Sirisena re-appointed Mangala Samaraweera finance minister, whose first task will be to secure parliament approval for a temporary budget aimed at avoiding a government shutdown from Jan. 1.

The plot to kill the president, links to foreign intelligence, a rogue police officer and a missing sniper: the snippets of news emerging from the island nation in recent weeks seem plucked from the pages of paperback fiction.

Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani and Nick Macfie

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