ECONOMYNEXT – Former Speaker Karu Jayasuriya is publicly offering himself up to replace Ranil Wickremesinghe as the leader of the United National Party.
In a statement released to Media earlier today, Jayasuriya said that he has already communicated to party seniors that he was willing to accept the leadership of the party.
Wickremesinghe, the 26-year leader of the party and four-time Minister presided over the UNP’s huge loss at the last General Election, which saw Sri Lanka’s Grand Old Party wiped out, failing to win a single seat save for one National List spot.
Shortly after the crushing defeat Wickremesinghe announced he would step down from the leadership, but did not say when.
He has now said the party has to prepare for the Provincial Council Elections, for which dates have now been set.
Jayasuriya in his statement that although the party has sunk to zero, he is confident that he will be able to rebuild the UNP.
He said, “numerous persons from within the party and outside have appealed to me to come forward to resurrect the party.”
He said this includes party supporters, members of civil society, members of the Maha Sangha and Clergy from all religions and many people concerned about the democratic future of Sri Lanka.
Jayasuriya touted his commitment to democratic values and work towards the Right to Information as part of his credentials.
Jayasuriya, as Speaker, led the charge at the time when then-President Maithripala Sirisena sacked Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister and appointed Mahinda Rajapaksa in his place.
Jayasuriya presided over three sessions of Parliament where Rajapaksa failed to win a vote of confidence. The Speaker was physically attacked by Rajapaksa’s supporters but he stood firm.
Jayasuriya’s full statement can be downloaded here: Karu Jayasuriya statement – UNP Leadership
(Colombo, August 24, 2020)
Reported by Arjuna Ranawana