By Kelum Bandara
The UNP presidential candidate should stand for the abolition of executive presidency according to a time-bound action plan if he wins elections, sources close to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s office said yesterday.
- party seniors agreed to the conditions presented by the Prime Minister
Asserting that UNP leader Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe agreed to nominate Minister Sajith Premadasa as the presidential candidate, the sources said his name would be proposed at the Working Committee. Later, it will be referred to the approval of the leadership council of the UNP-led Democratic National Front.
However, he, as the UNP candidate, should stand for the abolition of executive presidency as presented. This motion has to be tabled in Parliament within a specified time frame and put to a referendum and approved by people. This policy was adopted by the UNP in 2014.
Speaker Karu Jayasuriya has also expressed his willingness to contest the Presidential Election. However, Karu Jayasuriya had later announced that he will not come forward as a candidate this time. It is learned that the Prime Minister had proposed Sajith Premadasa’s name as the candidate at a meeting with the party seniors at Temple Trees on Tuesday evening. He had also presented several conditions which the candidate would have to agree to if he was to receive the backing of the party.
The party seniors had agreed to the conditions presented by the Prime Minister.
The meeting was attended by Vice Leader Ravi Karunanayake, UNP General Secretary Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, National Organizer Minister Naveen Dissanayake, Party Chairman Ministers Kabir Hashim, Malik Samarawickrema and Ranjith Madduma Bandara.
UNP parliamentarians Malik Samarawickrema, Kabir Hashim and Madduma Bandara represented the Premadasa faction. A meeting between Mr. Wickremesinghe and Mr. Premadasa were to take place yesterday. Meanwhile, the working committee will meet after the agreement is documented.
According to media reports, Premier Wickremesinghe had told party seniors on September 6 that as the party leader for 25 years, it is his responsibility to lead the party to victory in the next presidential election.
He also said that if there are members who wish to run for presidency, they can submit their strategy to the party to win the election which the Working Committee would discuss and select a suitable candidate.
- PM presented several conditions which the candidate would have to agree to if he was to receive the backing of the party