Prime Minister and UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe would submit his name for the post of presidential candidate to the nomination board to be appointed at the UNP Working Committee meeting scheduled to be held next week, informed sources said, yesterday.
Sources said that Wickremesinghe, after announcing his intention to contest for the presidency, would call on other aspirants to submit their names to the nomination board. Among the front runners are Speaker Karu Jayasuriya and Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa.
The other constituent parties of the UNP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) said that they would indicate their preference once the UNP selects its Presidential candidate.
PM Wickremesinghe, during a meeting with the civil society grouping “Purawesi Balaya” on Sunday said that if not for some senior UNPers taking inflexible positions, the JVP also could
had have been persuaded to join their alliance.
However, sources said that since the UNP would make abolition of the executive presidency a highlight of its campaign for the November 16 Presidential Election, the JVP could still be drawn into their alliance and an arrangement similar to what was entered into in January 2015 finalised.
The “Purawesi Balaya” represented by Prof. Sarath Wijesinghe, Gamini Viyangoda, Lal Wijenayake and K.W. Janaranjana had requested the Prime Minister to take steps to scrap the executive presidency immediately or within a specified time period. It had also wanted the UNP to nominate a candidate who was committed to doing so, within a specified time period, in the event of becoming President.
The civil society grouping had also called for the implementation of the proposed 20th Amendment to the Constitution, which sought to revert to a full parliamentary system of government be expedited.