Jan 17, Colombo: United National Party (UNP) parliamentarian Harin Fernando said the majority of the UNP has decided that Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa should be the leader of the party and they will commence the forming of a new alliance with MP Premadasa as the leader from tomorrow.
The leaders of the parties in the United National Front led by the UNP met today at the office of the Opposition Leader and unanimously decided to form an Alliance headed by Sajith Premadasa, MP Mano Ganesan said. Leaders of UNF constituent parties MPs Champika Ranawaka, Mano Ganesan, Rauf Hakeem, Rajitha Senaratne and Palani Digambaram participated in the meeting. He said the group decided to talk to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya.
The United National Party (UNP) parliamentary group met yesterday (16) at Sirikotha to resolve the leadership crisis. However, the meeting ended unsuccessfully with tensions rising over the leadership tussle between the party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and the deputy leader of the party Sajith Premadasa.
Various suggestions regarding the UNP leadership have been presented. Party Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has proposed a leadership council. However, it is reported that a majority of parliamentarians, who wants Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa to lead the party, opposed the idea demanding to appoint Premadasa as the leader.
Party leader and former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and some senior UNP parliamentarian have abruptly left the meeting as tensions arose. However the others, who have stayed back, reportedly took an unofficial vote and 52 MPs out of the 77 MPs who were present at the meeting initially have agreed to a proposal to make Premadasa party leader.
MP Harin Fernando said whatever the party’s decision, Sajith Premadasa will contest the upcoming general election as the party leader and the leader of the new alliance in accordance with the majority agreement.
He also said that he had requested party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe to respect the majority decision.