Written by Staff Writer
09 Jan, 2020 | 8:53 pm
Colombo (News 1st): A discussion on the future of the United National Party was held at the Sirikotha party headquarters this evening. Parliamentarians representing the UNP were hoping to reach a final decision on the issue surrounding the party leadership at today’s discussions.
A special committee comprising of 6 MPs was appointed to look into this issue. The faction supporting Sajith Premadasa left that committee. It was based on a request made by that committee that a special meeting was convened at Sirikotha.
Party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa and party seniors including MP Ravi Karunanayake headed the meeting. Over 50 MPs of the UNP attended the meeting at Sirikotha.
At the start of meeting John Amaratunga speaking first said that no one should be allowed to divide the UNP. He highlighted the need for the party to move forward united. Thereafter, Ranil Wickremesinghe speaking at the meeting had also highlighted the importance of moving forward together.
He had also said that Karu Jayasuriya is ready to take up the task of maintaining unity within the UNP. Ranil Wickremesinghe added that he had spoken with Karu Jayasuriya regarding the matter and that he had consented to take up this responsibility.
However afterwards the national organizer of the UNP Navin Dissanayake spoke at the meeting, he spoke of the voter base in the Hambanthota District and the reasons behind the reduction in the votes secured in the district.
A majority of UNP MPs present at the meeting objected to the views expressed by MP Navin Dissanayake. MPs including Sujeewa Senasinghe, Thalatha Athukorale, Chandrani Bandara, S.M. Marrikkar and many others voiced their objection against Navin Dissanayake.
Thereafter, MP Sujeewa Senasinghe had questioned the leader of the party as to if he will hand over the leadership of the party to Karu Jayasuriya or continue to remain as the leader of the party. He had pointed out that there is no clarity in what is being proposed.
Ranil Wickremesinghe responding to this question had said that he will remain in the party leadership and that a leadership committee can be appointed to steer the campaign of the upcoming election.
Ranil Wickremesinghe had failed to give a clear answer to this question. MP Ajith P. Perera speaking at the meeting said that the grass-root level voters request for the leadership of Sajith Premadasa, and added that they cannot campaign for the general election under the leadership of Ranil Wickremesinghe.
These series of events had created a tense situation inside the UNP party head office in Sirikotha. Against such a backdrop certain MPs had begun to leave the meeting. MP Edward Gunasekara had first left the premises citing a different reason. A group including MP Harshana Rajakaruna had also left the meeting.
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