Written by Staff Writer
17 Sep, 2019 | 9:16 pm
COLOMBO (News 1st) – Deputy Leader of the UNP and Minister Sajith Premadasa today (September 17) called for the UNP Working Committee and Parliamentary Group to discuss whether there are other members in the party who expect to run for the presidency.
Minister Sajith Premadasa convened a media briefing at the residence of Minister Mangala Samaraweera in Colombo this morning and it was attended by Ministers Chandrani Bandara, Malik Samarawickrama, Kabir Hashim and Ranjith Madduma Bandara.
Minister Sajith Premadasa noted that his letter to the PM requested those who intend to run for the presidency to come forward and follow the democratic selection process by convening the Working Committee and Parliamentary Group.
Minister further added that the UNP is not a party which would not adhere to family-based decision making and they would always follow democracy in decision making.
Minister went on to note that he believes it is high time to convene the Working Committee and the Parliamentary Group and come to an agreement as the National Elections Commission is about the announce the dates of the presidential election.
Journalist: What did the Prime Minister say after you submitted the letter? Did he give a response?
Minister responded that the premier is yet to respond to the letter and he stated that the Working Committee election should be carried out immediately.
Journalist: Other parties have named their candidates. Wouldn’t this crisis be an advantage to them?
Mangala Samaraweera, Minister of Finance intervened and denied this is not a “crisis” and this was the strength of democracy. He added that within their party anybody has the right to believe that they could contest for the presidential election and the democracy within the party would decide whether he/she would be allowed to do so.
Journalist: Are reports on disciplinary action against those who support Minister Sajith Premadasa false?
Minister Sajith Premadasa responded that in any political movement minor issues tend to arise and noted that this was a trivial matter.
Journalist: R. Sampanthan had noted if you are elected President, Ranil Wickremesinghe would be appointed as the Prime Minister?
Minister requested the media to be concerned with the matters at hand and added that the election was about appointing a president, not the prime minister.
Journalists also questioned Minister Sajith Premadasa’s view on the abolishment of the executive presidency.
Minister Sajith Premadasa noted that in 2015 they already had taken certain measures to minimize the powers of the executive president. He added that further discussions are underway to decide whether the executive presidency in Sri Lanka should remain as an office or should it be abolished.
He added that however, in the time being it was not one of the main priorities in his political agenda and his main concern was the current cost of living.
Meanwhile, General Secretary of the United National Party Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam stated that the UNP will contest the upcoming presidential election by forming a wide alliance.
He added that a final agreement has also been reached.
Issuing a communique, UNP General Secretary stated that certain parties are attempting to orchestrate a crisis within the UNP and other parties that intend to form an alliance regarding the presidential candidate.
The minister added that the suitable candidate from the United National Party will be selected in accordance with the constitution while respecting democracy and norms of the party.
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