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News  


 

Renewed calls for Ranil to quit

By S. Selvakumar and
Arthur Wamanan

Confusion reigned as UNP reformists called with renewed vigour for the stepping down of Ranil Wickremasinghe from his post of the leader of UNP, after last week’s political developments.
Speaking to BBC’s Sandeshaya programme, Wickremasinghe said he was not aware of any details about the proposed change in leadership.
“I talk to the General Secretary and Karu Jayasuriya every day, they haven’t told me anything about it,” Wickremasinghe said.
Wickremasinghe also denied issuing any statements pertaining to this issue over the last week.
However UNP leader Ranil Wickremsinghe had released a statement that the party had appointed Jayasuriya to unite the UNP.
Meanwhile UNP MP Ranjith Maddumabandara told The Nation that the party reformers had made their position very clear and that it was up to the party leadership to make a suitable decision.
“We have made our position very clear. We want Karu Jayasuriya to take over the party leadership,” he said.
He added that there would be further discussions held on this matter, noting that future steps would be decided on the decision of the party leadership. “We will continue to take steps if the leadership does not agree to our demand,” he said.
Meanwhile UNP General Secretary, Tissa Attanayake said the party will convene an emergency meeting of the Working Committee soon after the arrival of Wickremesinghe who is in London to participate in the Commonwealth Parliamentary Group Meeting. Wickremesinghe is expected to return on Tuesday, August 2.
Chief Opposition Whip John Amatarunge undermined the capacity of Jayasuriya and reportedly told media that Wickremesinghe would emerge victorious if it came to a power struggle.
UNP Hambantota District Parliamentarian, Sajith Premadasa on Thursday said that he had called upon Jayasuriya to take the initiative to salvage the party adding that the latter had agreed to do so.
Premadasa said that the UNP had failed in its responsibilities towards the people citing the party’s performance at the recently concluded Local Government elections.
When asked whether Wickremesinghe had cut short his visit due to the unexpected developments within the party Attanayake said that it was not so.

The latest crisis within the party was as a result of the poor show by the UNP at last week’s local government elections conducted for 63 councils where the UNP was able to return only 22 members far behind the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) that came second to the ruling UPFA.
Meanwhile Jayasuriya who left for New Delhi on Friday is expected to return on Wednesday.
Attanayake that once the party leader returns the matter could be resolved through negotiations and he was hopeful of a settlement.
Meanwhile, the official Working Committee meeting of the UNP is scheduled for August 17.