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Sajith gets control of UNP-led Alliance

Nalin Bandara

ECONOMYNEXT – UNP Parliamentarian Nalin Bandara says Sajith Premadasa’s supporters are happy with the party’s decision to appoint him as the leader of the Alliance that will contest the upcoming Parliamentary elections.

Yesterday the Working Committee of the Party offered Premadasa the leadership of the UNP-led alliance and Bandara said that was the outcome the pro-Sajith faction of the party wanted.

Premadasa was among 16 Committee members who were not present. They boycotted the meeting because four members, namely Imtiaz Bakeer Markar, Colombo Mayor Rosie Senanayake and MPs Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka and Ajith P Perera were not invited to the meeting, Bandara said.

Former House Leader Lakshman Kiriella told EconomyNext yesterday that Senanayake and Bakeer Markar were not invited because they had not been appointed for the new year. Perera and Fonseka, he said, are to be removed from the top decision-making body for making public statements against the party. Both men have been openly critical of Party Leader and former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

The MP told reporters this morning that Malik Samarawickrama and Mangala Samaraweera represented them. Other sources said Party Chairman Kabir Hashim also presented Premadasa’s case.

Samaraweera had earlier told reporters that the “solution to the issues in the UNP must protect both Sajith and Ranil.”

Bandara claimed that these two senior partymen were able to convince the working committee to agree on contentious issues which Premadasa and Wickremesinghe had failed to agree upon when they met on Wednesday night.

Bandara said the Party agreed that Premadasa could apppoint a person of his choice to the post of Secretary General to the Alliance and will chair the nomination board.

Premadasa has dropped his insistence on the Party Leader’s post because “ Wickremesinghe refused to agree to that a month ago and there is no way of changing the leadership if he does not agree,” Bandara said. (Colombo, January 31, 2020)

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