The decision with regard to the United National Party leadership will be made tomorrow (Jan 16). This was decided when the UNP parliamentary group met at the Sirikotha party headquarters recently.
After the United National Party was led by exemplary leaders like D. S. Senanayake, Dudley Senanayake, J.R. Jayawardena, R. Premadasa and D.B Wijetunga, Ranil Wickremesinghe was appointed as the party leader in 1994. Since the time he took over the party leadership, the number of elections the UNP lost sums up to 31.
After not taking up the opportunity to contest the 1994 Presidential Election, following the demise of Late Gamini Dissanayake, Ranil Wickremesinghe first contested the Presidential Election in 1999. Following the massive defeat against Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga at the 1999 Presidential election, he was defeated once again by Mahinda Rajapaksa at the 2005 Presidential elections.
Thereafter he evaded from contesting the presidential elections in 2010 and 2015, paving the way for a common candidate to contest the elections. After hiding behind the common candidate at the 2015 Presidential election, certain views expressed by him in 2019 revealed that he had supported the opposing candidate during the election.
On the 14th of December, 2019 UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe noted that on every survey, their candidate stood behind while Gotabaya Rajapaksa was leading. He added that when he reviewed the 04th survey, Gotabaya Rajapaksa was leading with a big margin. He said that he told Vajira Abeywardena to be careful about Galle and suggested that he at least focuses his attention during the next couple of days.
With only 50 days more to go to announce the general elections, several clusters of people who are with Ranil Wickremesinghe are expressing different views.
UNP MP Vajira Abeywardana noted that according to the UNP constitution, appointing a leader for the party was decided at the party’s convention. He added that the party constitution states that the parliamentary group does not have the right to appoint or terminate the party leadership. He said he would like to tell no matter what type of meeting is convened, a different decision cannot be made.
However, this is what the grass-root level members of the party had to say.
UNP Joint Organizer of Kalawewa Anil Ratnayaka said;
“Sajith Premadasa was to win this presidential election. But why we lost was due to the third class act of our party leadership which did not allow the candidate to prepare for the elections. Mahinda Rajapaksa and all of them got together at the end. We can simply see that they all got together and worked for the defeat of this person who represented the poor. Now can the party leadership be given to this person? It is not ethical, this leadership is not something that came from his family. If the party is being destroyed, Ranil Wickremesinghe should be held responsible.”