ECONOMYNEXT – Sajith Premadasa has said he is stepping down as Deputy Leader of the United National Party conceding defeat to Gotabaya Rajapaksa in the 2019 presidential polls asking his successor to take forward democratic gains.
“I express my heartfelt gratitude to all of our citizens who voted for me, in all corners of the island. I am humbled that you placed your faith in me,” Premadasa said.
“Your support has been a fountain of strength throughout my twenty-six-year-long political career. I also wish to place on record my gratitude to all those who worked tirelessly on my campaign.”
He said the most peaceful election in the history of Sri Lanka was due to institutional freedoms.
“We have just witnessed the most peaceful presidential election in the history of our independent republic,” he said.
“This was a result of the democratic gains and institutional reforms that have taken place over the last five years, that empowered an independent elections commission and restored the rule of law.
“My appeal to the incoming President is that he take this process forward and strengthen and protect the democratic institutions and values that enabled his peaceful election as the 7th President of Sri Lanka.
“I also urge Mr. Rajapaksa to ensure that the post-election environment is peaceful, and that no citizen or NDF party supporter is persecuted or harmed for their role in supporting my candidacy.”
Premadasa said he is stepping down as Deputy Leader of the UNP with immediate effect.
“In light of today’s decision by the electorate, I have decided to step down as Deputy Leader of the United National Party with immediate effect,” he said.
“In the coming weeks, in consultation with all those who supported my presidential bid, the people who have stood by me through my political journey and my loved ones, I will reflect on the future of my political career and where my life will take me hereafter.”