Proposal to appoint new UNP leader next year
ECONOMYNEXT – The United National Party may not appoint a successor to Party Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe this year, but put it off for next year, party officials say.
The Party’s Legal Secretary Nissanka Nanayakkara is proposing that the party first fill the vacant Deputy Leader position and have that person step into the Leader’s position on January 1, 2021.
Nanayakkara was quoted in Media as saying that the party will likely take a decision about the Deputy on Monday at a Working Committee meeting.
The Deputy Leader post is vacant because Sajith Premadasa, now Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, broke away from the UNP and formed the Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB).
The breakup of the UNP shortly before the elections ended up with the Grand Old Party suffering the biggest electoral defeat in its storied history.
It failed to win a single seat electorally and gained just the one seat on the National List.
Wickremesinghe, a three-term Prime Minister, lost his home seat of Colombo.
The former Prime Minister said he was stepping down but has not done so yet.
The split gave a huge advantage to the governing Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna which won the General Elections handsomely garnering a two-thirds majority.
Wickremesinghe’s leadership has been a bone of contention in the UNP and his opponents have said that many leading party members left and joined other parties, including the SLFP and the SLPP because of his intransigence.
(Colombo September 8, 2020)
Reported by Arjuna Ranawana