ECONOMYNEXT – The United National Party (UNP) has nominated former Sri Lanka prime minister and UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe for the one national list seat the defeated party is entitled to in parliament.
A spokesperson for the UNP confirmed that party general secretary former MP Palitha Range Bandara has submitted Wickrmesinghe’s name to the Election Commission June 16 morning.
The former PM had previously declined a unanimous request from the UNP working committee to take up the seat, calling for a younger member to represent the party in parliament instead.
A source close to Wickremesinghe told EconomyNext on April 15 Wickremesinghe didn’t deem it appropriate for him to enter parliament through the national list as he was decidedly defeated at the polls.
The UNP suffered the party’s worst defeat in its history at the August 2020 parliamentary elections, failing to secure even a single seat barring the one national list seat. The exodus of a faction led by then UNP deputy leader Sajith Premadasa contributed significantly to the party’s spectacular defeat.
UNP Chairman Vajira Abeywardena told reporters in Galle on April 14 that the party leader would be taking the national list slot in two months’ time. With the formal handover of the nomination today (16), Abeywardena’s prediction seems to becoming to pass.
Speaking to reporters outside the Election Commisson on June 16, the UNP general secretary said Wickremesinghe will likely attend the next parliament session.
Asked about the party’s stance on defeated candidates entering parliament through the backdoor, Bandara said: “This isn’t about party policy. It’s about what the country needs at this juncture, at a time when the Treasury says we don’t have enough foreign exchange reserves to last us three months. So you can imaging the state of the economy.”
“People are facing economic hardships. We have to decide who the suitable person for is for this and we discussed as a party and the working committee decided unanimously to send to parliament a person that not just the party needs but the entire country needs,” he added. (Colombo/June16/2021)