Jan 22, Colombo: The General Secretary of Sri Lanka's major opposition United National Party (UNP), Tissa Attanayake said today that the party leader Ranil Wickremasinghe has asked more time from the Working Committee to consider the appointment of a deputy leader to the party.
In response to media queries at a press briefing today, Attanayake said the Working Committee has agreed to allow Wickremasinghe to take more time to discuss the appointment with the former deputy leader Sajith Premadasa and others contending for the position .
The party has no intention to annul the position and a suitable person will be appointed according to the party's constitution at the next Working Committee meeting, Attanayake added.
He said that Wickremasinghe personally and individually had discussions with every member appointed to party's leadership positions including suitable candidates for the deputy leader position and the leader has informed the Working Committee that he intends to hold discussions with Premadasa as well.
When asked whether the party leadership thinks Premadasa is not suitable, Attanayake said the party members need to work on a common foundation.
He rejected the reports that there is a disciplinary action against Premadasa.
However, political sources say the party leader wants to appoint his supporter Ravi Karunanayaka as the deputy leader.
At the Working Committee meeting held yesterday (21), the UNP appointed MP Joseph Michel Perera as the Assistant Leader to the party and Eastern Provincial Councilor Daya Gamage as the National Organizer.
In addition the Working Committee filled several other positions in the party and according to Attanayake, all incumbent officers except Premadasa have been reappointed in their positions for the year 2013.
MPs Lakshman Kiriella and Kabir Hashim have been appointed as senior vice presidents of the party while MPs D. M. Swaminathan, Amara Piyaseeli, and K. Velayuthan have been pointed as vice presidents.
John Amaratunga has been appointed as the Chief Opposition Whip in parliament and MP Gayantha Karunathilaka as the media spokesman. MP Wijedasa Rajapakshe has been appointed as the president of policy research while Daya Pelpola will be the party's Legal Secretary.