for Ranil to quit
By S. Selvakumar and
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 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
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,
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
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.