The United National Party (UNP) hierarchy is reported to have obtained the approval of the working committee to proceed with the formation of a new alliance with the like-minded political parties subject to changes to its constitution proposed by some members.
The proposed constitution of the new alliance -- the Democratic National Front (DNF) was taken up for discussion by the working committee.
However, the party appeared to be sharply divided over the constitution of the proposed political alliance with the faction loyal to Minister Sajith Premadasa insisting on making changes.
The constitution states that the address of the DNF is No.146/20, Sri Sambudatva Jayanthi Mawatha, Havelock Road, Colombo 5.
However, the Sajith faction insisted on the UNP headquarters ‘Sirikotha’ be the address and that someone from the UNP should be appointed General Secretary of the Front with Mr. Premadasa offering to be the general secretary of the alliance.
The pro- Sajith group insisted that the criteria for the selection of the presidential candidate should be stipulated in the constitution.
The UNP is planning to sign the agreement with the parties in the alliance on August 5 but even after three hours of deliberations, the party could not reach common ground.
Therefore, the matter was put to a vote. According to sources close to party leader and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, there were 35 votes in favour of the signing of the agreement and eight against.
However, Non-Cabinet Minister Harsha de Silva said there was no proper vote taken.
“We are not against an alliance with other parties. We want it to be done in a proper manner. The constitution should be amended as suggested by us,” he said.
According to a copy of the draft constitution made available to the Daily Mirror, the highest decision- making body of the alliance will be the Leadership Council and when there is no consensus among the members, it has to be approved by a majority of members. It will have not less than ten members. Each founding member is entitled to nominate one member to it.
Besides, Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne and Transport Minister Arjuna Ranatunga will be individual members of the Leadership Council.
In addition to the Leadership Council, there will be an Executive Committee with no less than 50 members. The UNP, as the largest party, is entitled to nominate one member more than 50 per cent of the total membership at all times.
In addition to the UNP, Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) led by Minister Rauff Hakeem; the All Ceylon Makkal Congress led by Minister Rishad Bathiudeen; the Tamil Progressive Alliance, the Jathika Hela Urumaya and Prajathanthrawadi Jathika Peramuna led by MP Chathura Senaratne will be the founding members. (Kelum Bandara)