What happened to the UNP Ruwan Wijewardene committee recommendations?

by Staff Writer 19-09-2018 | 9:47 AM
Colombo (News1st): The United National Party was defeated in the Local Government Elections while in power. Later, the Ruwan Wijewardene Committee was appointed to present proposals to divert the party back to the path towards victory. The following are the recommendations presented in March 2018 at the Temple Trees by the 17 member committee. The first recommendation presented by the committee was that the party constitution should be democratized. The report went on to say that an election for the party leadership should be allowed through the party constitution after the conclusion of a presidential election or a general election. Another main recommendation presented in the report was to appoint more efficient leaders to the posts of chairman of the party, general secretary, national organizer and other senior posts of the party. Further, it stated that a strong restructuring needs to take place and the leadership of the party should be appointed while respecting the mandate of the people. Another recommendation was to empower the deputy leader of the party through the party constitution to build up the support for the party by going around the country. It was recommended that any member of the United national party should be allowed to directly coordinate with the post of party general secretary and to appoint an MP who is currently in parliament. That MP would come in through the national list at a future election as per the report's recommendations. On the 25th of May 2018, UNP MP Bandulal Bandarigoda stated that they requested that the Ruwan Wijewardhena committee report be enacted and for talented young leaders to be appointed to the senior positions in the party. He added that they are all of the same stances and they feel they need the restructuring. He stated that the Prime Minister has agreed to it as well. UMP MP S.M. Marikkar stated previously that in addition to it the PM agreed to change the constitution of the party in a manner that it suits the present time, taking into consideration the grass root level politics. Though the backbenchers of the party spoke in this manner, they too are silent at present Though there are several good recommendations in the Wijewardena committee report, they seem to have been completely ignored. Minister Akila Viraj being appointed the General Secretary of the UNP. Former General Secretary of the UNP Tissa Attanayake stated that it was decided that the post of party general secretary and treasurer should be held by individuals who can dedicate their full attention to the activities of the party and that this was made mandatory through a constitutional amendment which was presented in 2000. He stated that when Gamini Athukorale was the general secretary there was a requirement from the party as well as the leader to appoint the general secretary full time and it was decided that he or she who is appointed will not hold a political position. Tissa Attanayake added that it was changed in 2000 because Ranil Wickremesinghe took a decision that this will not be given to an MP and with the 2004 general election and when there were struggles from within the party against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe it was decided to make certain changes in the party positions. That change was K. M. Weheragoda being appointed as the general secretary instead of Senarath Kapukotuwa, a new deputy general secretary position was created and Attanayake was appointed as the first deputy secretary. Attanayake noted that he was vested with the political activities of the party because the full-time general secretary was someone who did not engage in political activities. The former General Secretary of the UNP said there were struggles from within the party again by 2006, those arose because there was an opinion that the general secretary should engage in political activities. Tissa Attanayake became the full time general secretary of the party in 2006. It should also be noted that recently Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, through the 19th Amendment to the constitution, attempted to grab the powers of the president as well.