Aug 17, Colombo: Senior members of Sri Lanka's main opposition United National Party (UNP) have reportedly held discussions regarding a proposal to appoint the rebel party senior Sajith Premadasa as the deputy leader in an attempt to unite the party that is estranged over its leadership.
Sources close to the UNP leader Ranil Wickremasinghe has revealed that the UNP leader is considering to appoint Premadasa as the deputy leader to unite and strengthen the party before the Uva Provincial Council elections, a report in local newspaper Ceylon Today said.
Wickremasinghe is expected to propose the appointment of Premadasa as deputy leader at the next Working Committee meeting of the party.
At a media briefing held at party headquarters Sirikotha on Friday, UNP MP Thalatha Atukorale hinted that the UNP leader is ready to give Premadasa the deputy leadership of the party that he deserves before the end of this month.
She further said that all senior members of the party will unite on one stage to campaign for Uva Provincial Council elections.
Responding to a media query, MP Atukorale has said that Premadasa is the one who will assume the leadership of the party after Wickremasinghe and therefore, the UNP leader will fulfill what the party needs to do for Premadasa to become the leader.
Atukorale has expressed confidence that all party seniors will unite on the same stage not only for Uva PC election, but also for all the elections that are to follow it.
However, sources close to the party have said that MPs Mangala Samaraweera, Wijedasa Rajapakshe and Ravi Karunanayaka have vehemently opposed the UNP leader's proposition to appoint Premadasa as deputy leader.
If appointed, this would be the third time Premadasa would assume the deputy leader position.
According to sources, Premadasa had extended his fullest support to the UNP leader if the latter decides to contest the next Presidential Election.