- Those members had defied the party decision to contest the general election under the elephant symbol
By Yohan Perera
The United National Party (UNP) working committee yesterday approved the suspension of the party membership of its deputy leader Sajith Premadasa and 98 other former ministers, MPs, provincial councillors and organisers.
Former MP Ruwan Wijewardene told journalists that the membership of 99 UNPers will be suspended pending their explanation letters on their decision to contest from another party.
Among the seniors, who were suspended are: Sujeewa Senasinghe, Ranjan Ramanayake, Lakshman Kiriella, Ajith P Perera, Ranjith Aluvihare, Hirunika Premachandra, Harsha de Silva, Ranjith Madduma Bandara, Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, Eran Wickramaratne, Gayantha Karunatilleke, Mangala Samaraweera, Kabir Hashim, Harin Fernando, Talatha Athukorala and Mayantha Dissanayake
“These members have been suspended on the basis that they defied the party’s decision to contest the general election under the elephant symbol,” Mr. Wijewardene said adding that the doors were still open for these members to rejoin the UNP” he said. “Some former MPs and others who joined the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) are talking to party Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, myself and to the Assistant Leader Ravi Karunanayake and had expressed their willingness to rejoin. They can re-join any time,” Mr. Wijewardene said.
It was revealed that Mr. Premadasa had not been re-appointed as the deputy leader while other posts including that of Chairman have not been filled. The working committee had approved the appointment of lawyer A.S.M. Misbah as the new Treasurer of the party.
The new Deputy Leader and the Chairman are to be appointed later while Mr. Karunanayake and Akila Viraj Kariyawasam were re-appointed as Assistant Leader and General Secretary respectively while Sandith Samarasinghe, Palitha Thewarapperuma, Ashu Marasinghe , Shanthini Kongahage, Nalaka Kolonna, Chanaka Illeperuma, Azmi Tashim and Kathuri Anuradhanayake have been appointed to the working committee.
These members have been suspended on the basis that they defied the party’s decision to contest the general election under the elephant symbol