Sri Lanka's only party of Buddhist monks on Wednesday announced that they will join the government and also accept a cabinet portfolio.
The National Heritage Party, or Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU), said it will support President Mahinda Rajapaksa who on Sunday inducted a 53-member cabinet to accommodate opposition legislators who defected to his party.
The Buddhist monks' party has nine seats that could give the president a comfortable majority.
Eighteen MP's from the main opposition joined the government Sunday. But even with them, the government has only a one-seat majority.
The joining of the monks will increase the majority to 10.
JHU spokesman Nishantha Warnasinghe said a saffron-robed monk will not enter the cabinet and have instead nominated layman and party strategist Champika Ranawaka.
A Buddhist monk legislator will step down from parliament to make way for Ranawaka. This would increase the cabinet strength to 54 members.