Former Minister Harin Fernando said today that he and other supporters of presidential candidate Sajith Premadasa hope to face the coming parliamentary election with a new leader under whose guidance they will continue their new political journey.
“We have an idea about who should lead the party in the general elections after Parliament is dissolved in March,” Fernando told reporters this morning.
If the Premadasa faction is not given the space necessary to pick up their campaign from where it left off, Fernando said, they would have to go for “alternate options” or quit politics altogether for the next five years.
Stressing that he was happy with party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe’s decision to resign as Prime Minister today, the MP said there cannot be any hidden deal behind the resignation such as a shift to Opposition Leader.
Fernando further said that, looking at the reasons for the UNP’s defeat, though Premadasa’s hands were clean, it was clear that he had to pay the price for the sins of the Yahapalana Government.
However, he said, die-hard UNP supporters were firmly behind Premadasa. But certain parties behind Premadasa’s election campaign did not allow him to focus his campaign on the floating vote.
When Sajith Premadasa came out as the UNP candidate officially after resolving internal issues, said Fernando, rival candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa was already two months into his campaign.
“As a country, we are happy that Gotabaya Rajapaksa is trying to embark on a different path. But I would like to point out his politics and the politics of some others who shared his stage do not go together. They are incompatible,” he said.
Fernando said that a metaphorical bomb will surely explode within the new government and then not even the gods can stop their inevitable division.
“But we need not focus on them. What we need to focus on is organising ourselves as a party in the coming days and figure out how to face the future as a party,” he said.