Ranil quits as UNP leader, search on for new leader – Akila Viraj

BYE BYE – Former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has stepped down from the leadership of the UNP. Here he greets well-wishers after voting at the elections on August 5/ Department of government information

ECONOMYNEXT – Ranil Wickremesinghe has agreed to step down from the leadership of the United National Party (UNP) and the search is on for a successor, party General Secretary Akila Viraj Kariyawasam told reporters a short while ago.

He said that the names of four people “have been mentioned,” to succeed Wickremesinghe who has held the leadership for decades.

The names are himself, Ravi Karunanayake, Vajira Abeygunewardene and Daya Gamage, Kariyawasam said.

Last Friday the party leaders had a discussion about the way forward and decided to meet today to take a final decision. At that meeting, Wickremesinghe had announced that he was stepping down and that a successor should be found.

All these decisions would have to be ratified by the party Working Committee.

Later Navin Dissanayake, the other senior leader told reporters that a new leader is being sought.

“I will not accept the leadership unless there is a consensus about me,” he said.

The UNP split shortly before the Parliamentary General Election over dissension about Wickremesinghe’s leadership.

The breakaway party of the UNP, the Samagi Jana Balavegaya led by Sajith Premadasa emerged as the biggest opposition party in the country and the parent body was humiliated by the electorate as it did not win a single seat in Parliament.

The Grand Old Party only won a single seat on the National List.





(Colombo, August 10, 2020)

Reported by Arjuna Ranawana

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