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UNP to choose a member for National List today as attempt to make Karu interim leader fails

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 – The United National Party, still reeling from its biggest defeat in history will meet this morning to nominate a member for the single National List seat it won in last week’s Parliamentary General Elections.

The deadline for nominees to the National List is today and UNP sources said that no names had been suggested as yet.

Meanwhile an attempt to make former Speaker Karu Jayasuriya the interim leader of the party has not succeeded, these sources said.

Several members had proposed that Jayasuriya be appointed until a new leader is elected.

The current leader, former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, has indicated he wishes to step down after the huge defeat. Wickremesinghe has been the leader of the UNP for 26 years.

Wickremesinghe’s successor will have to be chosen by the party’s Working Committee and ratified at a party convention.

Yesterday Ruwan Wijewardena the UNP’s Deputy Secretary General said that there is no shortage of “leaders in the party today who will come forward to lead us.”

“In the face of the setback we suffered in the last general election, we as a party, as well as myself personally, are of the view that we need to re-emerge stronger than before and that a comprehensive reorganization program is essential,” Wijewardene who is Wickremesinghe’s nephew said .

“Different names have been suggested for different responsibilities and it seems that there is a subtle competition between the senior members of the party and their supporters,” he added.

“We, as a political party, have achieved victories in the past, setbacks in the face of various political challenges and have risen again with great strength. All the while our members have united to protect the party, its leadership and its supporters.”

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(Colombo, August, 14, 2020)

Reported by Arjuna Ranawana