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UNP crisis worsens

The crisis in the main opposition United National Party shows no sign of ending after a meeting of the party’s Parliamentary Group ended in a farcical vote to choose a new party leader.

The UNP’s National Organizer Navin Dissanayake in a statement released to the media after the meeting deplored the fact that the Parliamentarians were divided about the party leadership.

“At a time that we should be joining the struggle of the common people who are battling the high cost of living, the shortage of fertilizer and a host of other issues, we as a party should not be fighting over the leadership,” he said.

The Parliamentary group is divided over whether former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe should remain as the Party Leader.

When an attempt was made to take a vote at the Group Meeting last night Wickremesinghe and his allies had walked out of the meeting at the party headquarters Sirikotha.

The remaining members, all 52 of them, had voted to appoint the current Leader of the Opposition and Presidential Candidate Sajith Premadasa as the leader.

The UNP has 77 members in parliament.

MP Ranjith Madduma Bandara told reporters that another meeting of the Parliamentary Group would be held next week. He said a majority wanted Premadasa to be the Party Leader.

Wickremesinghe, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya and Premadasa are due to meet next week to find a way forward.

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