RW proposes Sajith’s name at parliamentary group meeting
By Yohan Perera and Kelum Bandara
Closing the curtains on a longstanding role, United National Party (UNP) leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday agreed to cede the post of opposition leader of Parliament to MP Sajith Premadasa who was the party’s presidential candidate, an official said.
Mr. Wickremesinghe, at the party’s parliamentary group meeting held yesterday, decided to nominate MP Premadasa for the post. Mr. Wickremesinghe served in the opposition leader post since 1994 barring the 2002 /2004 and 2015 /2019 periods when he held the premiership. Accordingly, he has become the longest serving opposition leader of the country.
The UNP leader came under pressure from party members after the presidential election was declared. He nominated Mr. Premadasa as the presidential candidate. After the electoral defeat, the UNP MPs who stood by Mr.Premadasa mounted pressure on Mr.Wickremesinghe not to seek the opposition leader post once again. The minority parties aligned with the UNP also backed Mr. Premadasa in his bid for it.
Otherwise, party’s General Secretary MP Akila Viraj Kariyawasam had informed Speaker Karu Jayasuriya in writing that Mr. Wickremesinghe was the party’s nominee for the post. Later, another group of MPs requested the Speaker to accept Mr. Premadasa as the opposition leader.
Later, the Speaker referred both letters back to the party and called for the resolution of the issue internally.
Meanwhile, Mr. Kariyawasam confirmed to the media after yesterday’s meeting that the parliamentary group decided to name Mr. Premadasa as the leader of the opposition.
Mr. Wickremesinghe instructed Mr. Kariyawasam to officially inform the Speaker about the decision.
Mr. Wickremesinghe had stressed that there should be a strong opposition and that all should work together in fulfilling party’s interests .Also he had said no one sabotaged Mr. Premadasa’s Presidential campaign. He had also informed the group that one must listen to the remarks made by the Sangha and review the election results.
- Mr. Wickremesinghe, at the party’s parliamentary group meeting held yesterday, decided to nominate MP Premadasa for the post
- Mr. Wickremesinghe instructed Mr. Kariyawasam to officially inform the Speaker about the decision