By Yohan Perera and Kelum Bandara
While endorsing Minister Sajith Premadasa as the presidential candidate, the UNP Working Committee also passed a resolution to take forward the constitutional reform process that was initiated during the term of the present government.
The working committee passed a resolution which said the party will remain committed to carry forward the constitutional reform process which was begun by this government with regard to devolution of power, electoral reforms and to create a Presidency which could function with concurrence of the Prime Minister.
Mr. Premadasa told media that he will work towards bringing in reforms for which the present government received a mandate in 2015. He said these were his own ideas and not conditions put forward by anyone else in exchange of candidature. “Those who know me, are well aware that I am a person who does not adhere to conditions,” he said.
He said he will get the views of all parties with regard to reforms, if he is elected as President.
Asked whether he would accept the group led by President Maithripala Sirisena offers its support, Mr. Premadasa said anyone who accepts his policies are welcome to join him. “Even some from SLPP may join me,” he said.
He said his intention is to contest with the support of all UNPers. “My intention is to work with everyone in the UNP and I don’t have any issues with Ravi Karunanayake or with Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka,” he said.
Asked whether Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe would remain as the party leader in the event he is elected President, Mr. Premadasa said question on party leadership does not arise. “What we are facing is a presidential election and not a poll to elect a party leader,” he said.
There will be three resolutions to be put forward for ratification at the convention. One is to approve the unanimous endorsement of Mr. Premadasa as the candidate, and the other to carry forward the constitution-making process, and the third one is to recognize the role played by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya to uphold democracy during the 52-day government last year.