We must act constitutionally to contest under the symbol of the elephant: Akila Viraj

We must act constitutionally to contest under the symbol of the elephant: Akila Viraj

We must act constitutionally to contest under the symbol of the elephant: Akila Viraj

Written by Staff Writer

11 Feb, 2020 | 11:17 pm

Colombo (News 1st): General Secretary of the United National Party Akila Viraj Kariyawasam speaking to the media said that preparations are underway to call in applications for nominations. He noted that the United National Party is quickly preparing to call in nominations for the upcoming general elections. As the General Secretary, he requested for hopeful candidates to submit their applications. He added that nominations will be called in by a committee appointed by the working committee of the UNP.

Journalist: Does Sajith Premadasa have any say in the matter as the leader of the alliance?

Akila Viraj Kariyawasam: Sajith Premadasa was appointed as the leader of the alliance and as the chairman of the nomination committee. But although all of these matters were agreed to at the working committee meeting yesterday, it was clearly stated that we must contest for the general election under the symbol of the United National Party. Even before we formed various alliances and fronts like this and we contested for the election under the symbol of the UNP. Legal experts also pointed out another provision in the constitution of the party. Contesting under the symbol of the elephant should be done constitutionally. There is a legal issue as well. As far as I know, we cannot give the symbol of the elephant to anyone else.

Journalist: If they contest under the symbol of the elephant who will lead the elephant?

Akila Viraj Kariyawasam: The elephant will be led by the working committee. Especially the nomination committee will be appointed by the central working committee based on the agreement of a majority.

Journalist: If the alliance uses the symbol of the elephant will they be able to embark on a new journey?

Akila Viraj Kariyawasam: That cannot be done.

UNP MP S.M. Marikkar noted that contesting legally under the nomination list signed by the nominal general secretary of a party under a nominal leader, while there is another leader and another general secretary functioning behind them is like, putting a pry bar out of the house during a thunderstorm for the lightning strike to miss its mark. He added that it seems as if they are using Sajith Premadasa, therefore realistically, and optimistically speaking if they are asking Sajith Premadasa to form an alliance and contest the election it must be done legally.

He went onto note that they also agree to contest under the symbol of the elephant through such a legal alliance. He added that they are saying that they cannot give the symbol of the elephant for that. He pointed out that if they cannot give the symbol for the alliance and they are asking us to contest under the symbol of the elephant, the legal leader of the alliance would be the leader of the party that owns the symbol of the elephant.

Marikkar noted that the legal general secretary is the general secretary of the party that owns the symbol of the elephant. He said then Sajith Premadasa is not the leader of the alliance, and Ranjith Madduma Bandara will not become the general secretary of the alliance.

UNP MP Ajith P. Perera also spoke regarding the situation;

MP Ajith P. Perera: This is the official communique released by Akila Viraj Kariyawasam after the UNP working committee meeting held on the 30th of last month. This states that Sajitha Premadasa will be appointed as the leader of the alliance, he will be allowed to coordinate the activities of the election, he will be the chairman of the nominations committee and that the general secretary will be appointed by Sajith Premadasa. Ranil Wickremesinghe has informed Sajith Premadasa in writing of his agreement to the consensus reached with Sajith Premadasa. As this is a personal correspondence I will not issue this to the media, but we do have in our possession such a letter. Akila Viraj Kariyawasam said that he does not know about it. But there is a letter that was written and signed by Ranil Wickremesinghe and sent to Sajith Premadasa. All of us want would like to contest under the symbol of the elephant. If we are contesting under the symbol of the elephant it must be legally handed over to the alliance where Ranjith Madduma Bandara holds office as the general secretary.

Journalist: Did you decide yesterday on the name of the new alliance?

MP Ajith P. Perera: We have come to a consensus on the name of the alliance among the parties in the alliance. Also, the documents pertaining to the leader of the alliance and the general secretary of the alliance have been handed over and accepted by the Elections Commission, and further, we have been informed in writing about this as well.

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