The United National Party seems to be stuck in a quagmire of its own making. With just two months to go before the expected announcement of general elections, the party remains a rudderless ship, drifting with the winds. The reason for this has been a mutiny from within the party itself, demanding for a change.
On Thursday (Jan 16) the UNP parliamentary group gathered at the party headquarters Sirikotha, with the hope that the Party leadership issue would be finally laid to rest. The tug of war between Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe’s ever-dwindling faction and Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa’s faction was clearly evident during the meeting.
Sources within the UNP revealed to reporters that the existing party leadership attempted to derail yesterday’s meeting by diverting attention to other issues that were not on the agenda such as the local government election and MP Ranjan Ramanayake’s leaked tapes. However, the members of the Parliamentary group had demanded a change in the leadership of the party through a vote.
UNP MP Ranjitha Maddumabandara speaking to reporters outside Sirikotha revealed that there was opposition against the proposal to vote on the party leadership. Sources reveal that around 13 MP of the Parliamentary group left the meeting hall at this point of time with Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe.
The remaining 52 members of the UNP parliamentary group voted on a proposal to name Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa as the leader of the party. The proposal was approved unanimously. MP Maddumabandara stated that they now hope to establish a broad coalition under the leadership of Sajith Premadasa and face the upcoming election.