By Yohan Perera
UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe informed party seniors that he did not intend to hold leadership for long, its General Secretary Akila Viraj Kariyawasam said yesterday.
- A new political party will not be formed since Ranil expressed he would not cling to leadership for a long time
- Party members will discuss and decide on opposition leader’s post without allowing any division in the party
He told a press conference that Mr. Wickremesinghe had already told party seniors he would ensure party unity.
“A new political party will not be formed since Mr. Wickremesinghe expressed he would not cling to leadership for a long time. However, he stressed that the unity of the party should be preserved,” he said.
He said party members including NDF presidential candidate Sajith Premadasa would discuss and decide on the opposition leader’s post without allowing any division among the party.
“I fulfilled my responsibility as the party’s General Secretary and named Mr. Wickremesinghe as opposition leader. I did this as one cannot keep the post vacant for long. It is possible for the parliamentary group and the working committee to discuss and resolve the matter,” he said.
When asked if the party suffered defeat owing to its failure in the previous regime to take action against corruption, he said efforts were made for it by establishing the FCID and special courts.
“There were delays but officers who played a role in bringing wrongdoers to justice should not be hunted. One cannot point fingers at individuals for election defeat as everyone played a role in the presidential campaign of Mr. Premadasa. Also, statements made by certain UNP members resulted in the party losing a significant number of Buddhist votes,” he said.
MPs Ashu Marasinghe, Sandeeth Samarasinghe and Wijepala Hettiarachchi who participated in the event called for party unity and stressed the need to attract votes from the Buddhist community. They said the party should follow the advice of the Maha Sangha and focus on the needs of the Buddhists.