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Karu debunks statement that he is no longer a member of the UNP

ECONOMYNEXT – Former Speaker Karu Jayasuriya has shot back at the United National Party members who have said that he cannot become the party leader because he is no longer a member of the party.

In a statement issued by Jayasuriya’s Media unit, the veteran politician says that he is a lifetime member of the UNP as he has obtained the 1000M card in the year 2000.

The 1000M card is equal to a 50-year membership, the statement noted.

It also said that the party leaders at the time agreed that a further donation of Rs 11,000 at the time confirmed the lifetime membership.

He also produced a membership card for the year 2020.

Jayasuriya’s UNP membership has come up after at a party Working Committee meeting on Tuesday the former Speaker’s name was proposed for the Party Leader position.

This was after Jayasuriya publicly offered to be the leader on Monday.

His name was proposed at the WC meeting by former Minister Navin Dissanayake.

Dissanayake, who is Jayasuriya’s son-in-law, appears to lead a faction in the party leaning towards rebuilding relations with the breakaway Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) which has emerged as the biggest Opposition group in Parliament.

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His brother who has joined the SJB was appointed to Parliament on the National List.

However, at the Working Committee Jayasuriya’s name had been shot down by other members who pointed out that he has resigned from the Party and will also be 80 years old at the end of next month.

The current leader former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has held that position for 26 years.

He offered to step down for a younger replacement after the UNP’s disastrous showing at this month’s Parliamentary General elections.

Some WC members had said that Jayasuriya was going to be 80-years old next month and that was a drawback.

UNP insiders say Wickremesinghe favours his nephew, former State Minister of Defense Ruwan Wijewardene to be the new leader. (Colombo, August 28, 2020)