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Ranil dodges bullet in Sri Lanka UNP leadership battle

ECNOMYNEXT – A meeting of United National Party legislators had ended abruptly after embattled leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and his backers walked out of the meeting resisting calls for a vote to elect the leader.

Wickremsinghe had “abruptly adjourned” the meeting of the parliamentary group after there was as clamour for vote from a majority of UNP parliamentary group legislator Harsha de Silva said in a twiter.com message.

General Secretary Akila Viraj Kariyawasam and several others had walked out of the party meeting.

Remaining members had had taken an unofficial vote and 52 had backed Sajith Premadasa for leader. The UNP has 77 members in parliament.

Legislator Ranjith Madduma Bandara told reporters that another meeting would be held next week. Wickremesinghe, Karu Jayasuriya and Premadasa will have discussions.

He said a majority wanted Sajith Premadasa to be party leader.

The UNP had also been rocked by a scandal involving telephone calls recorded by Ranjan Ramanayake. (Colombo/Jan17/2020 – Update II)

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