Mar 29, Colombo: Sri Lanka's majority party in the unity government, the United National Party (UNP) today unanimously decided to support party leader, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe against a no-confidence motion (NCM) moved by the joint opposition and to undertake major party reforms of leadership structure immediately.
At the UNP working Committee meeting held today at the party headquarters, the members of the party unanimously agreed to vote as a whole to defeat the no confidence motion against the Premier and government brought by the Joint Opposition.
"It is expected all UNP MPs, except perhaps one or two who are not with the party, will vote against the NCM," State Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva said in a communiqué.
He said the UNP will defeat NCM and immediately undertake major party reforms of leadership structure and a hard deadline has been agreed.
At the UNP working committee meeting Party Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has said that the reports of the three committees appointed to analyze the results of the recent local government election will be implemented, if necessary, with amendments by the joint group of all MPs and working committee, to ensure UNP is reinvigorated to become a strong party that can win elections.
The first committee chaired by Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa and including State Minister Dr. de Silva has made 38 recommendations on matters related to policies, the second one by State Minister Ruwan Wijewardene with 27 recommendations on party reforms and third one by MP J C Alawathuwala on issues faced by party backbenchers and organizers.
Many members at the Working Committee meeting have discussed the pros and cons with several voicing their opinions on the need to ensure the party reforms are done as soon as possible and they must be significant; unlike the cabinet reshuffle. It was argued that the leaders must listen carefully to what the party cadres across the country as well as what the general public sympathetic to the UNP are saying out loud.
It was also agreed to take on board the proposals made by party's allies making up the United National Front (UNF) upon discussions with them.
"All agreed to start discussions on party and policy reforms on 5 April soon after we defeat the NCM on the 4th and conclude the discussions hopefully by the close of business on the 8th; meeting continuously if necessary," State Minister Dr. de Silva said.
The term of office of all office bearers has been extended only until 30 April 2018 setting a hard deadline to restructure the party, which is expected to prepare the party for the 2020 elections under a new leadership.
Galle District MP and Home Affairs Minister Vajira Abeywardena said at a media briefing yesterday said that the party is not unduly worried about various statements attributed to some members of the UNP and UNF parliamentary groups. He said the UNP MPs currently overseas would be back soon and the party was confident of defeating the NCM.