The leadership trap

The leadership trap

Written by Staff Writer

31 Dec, 2018 | 8:40 pm

Colombo (News1st) –  Details have come to light regarding an attempt to hide the UNP behind another leadership council at a time when the party is being challenged. The latest leadership trap has been named the “collegial leadership council.”

According to a Daily Mirror report, a collegial leadership of ten members has been proposed for the new political front to be formed by the United National Party along with parties such as Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, the Jathika Hela Urumya and the Tamil Progressive Alliance. The reports adds that the constitution of the new ‘Democratic National Front’ alliance has already been drafted. According to this constitution, the UNP will have the chairmanship of this leadership body.


This is the 24th year that Ranil Wickremesinghe is holding on to the leadership of the United National Party. During this period the party has lost nearly 30 elections. At all the instances when the leadership of the United National Party was challenged by party members, its leader Ranil Wickremesinghe used tactics like establishing leadership councils to evade the problem.

The country remembers the leadership council that was headed by Karu Jayasuriya, it is possible that even Karu Jayasuriya is unaware of what happened through this leadership council. Not only did Ranil Wickremesinghe drag back the UNP and its supporters but also resorted to hide behind two common candidates in a bid to hang on to power.

In 2010 Sarath Fonseka was fielded as the Presidential candidate and Ranil Wickremesinghe ensured that he protected the position of party leader and opposition leader. Again in 2015, Maithripala Sirisena was fielded as the common candidate, and Ranil Wickremesinghe made sure that his positions were secure.

After the victory of President Maithripala Sirisena, attempts were made to grab the powers of the President through the 19th amendment. If not for the legal action taken by MTV, provisions of the amendment could have included clauses which would have been used to jail heads of media institutions and fine journalists. The Supreme Court after considering the petitions submitted by this network said that a two thirds majority and a referendum is necessary to approve the problematic clauses.

The people now understand that the 19th amendment which was brought forward to rob power has only brought about more problems. The supporters also understand now that irrelevant of what happens to the country, Ranil Wickremesinghe has been able to safeguard his position as the leader of the United National Party. Again, when the leadership is at the risk of being challenged, what Ranil Wickremesinghe is trying to attempt is to create a collegial leadership council.

Speaking to the media today Min. Lakshman Kiriella noted that a Presidential election could be expected next year and that they hope to field a candidate who could win it. Thereafter he noted that Ranil Wickremesinghe is the current leader of the UNP and everyone should join forces with him to win the election.

Addressing the same rally SLMC leader, Min. Rauff Hakeem noted that they should thank the TNA for extending their support both directly and indirectly. The minister added that they should be work towards fulfilling their wishes and aspirations as well. He also noted that the time has come to forget party differences and officially establish an alliance.

Backbenchers outraged

UNP MP Hesha Withanage convening a mediabriefing today stated that there are certain minute parties with only a few members in them trying to creep into the UNF and change the direction the UNP is travelling on. The MP noted that this is not what the people of this country want at the moment. Withanage stated that the UNP is rallying together to create a single party Government after being pulled down twice by fielding two common candidates.  While stating that there are plenty of young talented leaders in the UNP such as Sajith Premadasa and Navin Dissanayake, the MP called on UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe not to sacrifice the UNP faithful for the needs of smaller parties.

Chaminda Wijesiri another UNP backbencher speaking to News1st questioned as to who wants an alliance at this point of time? He stated that there were many MPs back then who were agitating against the leadership council and agitating for a change in the UNP leadership adding that most of them have fallen silent after accepting ministerial portfolios.  Wijeysiri stated that the party leaders who want to join the alliance should first become members of the UNP. He also noted that they are against the UNP being used as a medium to ensure the needs of leaders of smaller parties. Wijesiri reiterated that it is time now for the second tier of the UNP to stand up and grab this opportunity without backing down.

General Secretary of the United National Freedom Front (UNFF) PC Maithri Gunaratne speaking to the media stated that the UNP will never change. Gunaratne stated that earlier when the UNP leadership was under threat they resorted to a similar tactic and brought about a leadership council. He noted that Ranil Wickremesinghe is trying to retain his position through this latest attempt as well. Gunaratne added that individuals like Sajith Premadasa and Navin Dissanayke are waiting with open arms for the poisition of UNP leader to fall into their lap, while stating that no one is going to offer such positions on a silver platter, the president’s counsul stated that they have to fight for it.

Maithri also stated that Ranil Wickremesinghe’s current efforts are aimed at the next presidential election and that the UNP will be set back once more if he is allowed to compete.

Meanwhile it was reported earlier this evening that the UNP has convened a back bench parliamentarian’s meeting tomorrow. The groups who rendered their support during the so called 56 day struggle have also been invited for morning tea. Incidentally a group of the same MPs had scheduled a private meeting leader on the same day.

This is exactly what happened in the past when the leadership was challenged.

What will happen in the end?

Will the UNP supporters endup without the UNP?


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