Karu hits back at those resisting reforms

UNP Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya in a strongly worded statement yesterday hit back at the Ranil Wickremesinghe loyalists in the UNP who were resisting reforms to the party constitution.
“There are those who are of the view that the powers of the leader should remain intact and that no changes are necessary in the party structure either. We wish to state that it is only those who lack the strength of character to stand on their own two feet, who are so incompetent that they cannot but shine except in the reflected light of better people, who hold this view.  The UNP can do better than this, we firmly believe,” Jayasuriya states.
“We emphasise that the UNP, as the largest single party, a party with a long and distinguished history, as the main opposition party, has a significant role to play, even when out of power. We have a responsibility to the party, but more so to our constituency and the country at large.  We have been unable as a party to play this role so necessary to make democracy meaningful. 
We believe that we will continue to fail at this unless meaningful reforms are instituted immediately, then and then alone will Mr. Wickremesinghe’s leadership run into crisis and the party’s integrity collapse,” he added.
The statement by Jayasuriya also states: “There is a mischievously propagated myth regarding the group within the UNP that is agitating for party reforms. This group has been portrayed as one which a) wants to oust the party leader, Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe, and b) wants to destroy the party altogether. 
Both these are patently untrue.
“In the first place, the agitation stems from the understanding that the problem lies not with the leader but the party structure itself.  We believe that if more democratic safeguards were instituted and if decision-making processes are made more democratic, Mr. Wickremesinghe would emerge stronger.
“The intent, obviously, is not to destroy the party but to prevent its disintegration.  It is no secret that the party is in serious crisis.  It is no secret that the present structure of the party has yielded electoral defeats of a magnitude and frequency that is scandalous. It is no secret that however many times one walks along a road that leads to a dead-end it takes on nowhere.  The fault is not so much in personality and capability.  The problem lies in an archaic party structure that is not in tune with the times nor able to attract the best political minds in the country.  The UNP has to transform itself into a true party of the people, the kind of political organization that will have room for another Ranasinghe Premadasa and is sensitive to the pulse of the people, for example.  Therefore, if the party is not reformed, then he will not have access to the whole gamut of factors so necessary to make informed decisions. 
“Let there be no doubt that we will continue to agitate for party reforms and let it be clearly understood that there are among us people without whom the party would not have scored the one victory it did in the past 13 years.  An agreement was reached in the Working Committee. The spirit of democracy requires that ratification should be sought for the mechanisms therein at the Party Convention. If this is subverted, then the party loses all credibility and forfeits the right to go before the people as a democratic political entity.”