The United National Party (UNP) continues to face a major split despite the working committee reaching a compromise last week to appoint opposition leader Sajith Premadasa as head of the new UNF alliance and its prime ministerial candidate, and Ranil Wickremesinghe to continue as the UNP leader.
Some of the party seniors told Daily Mirror yesterday that despite repeated requests of reconciliation, Premadasa and Wickremesinghe were yet to sit at the table and talk for the benefit of the party.
“Premadasa refused to attend working committee meetings after the party suspended the membership of four from the central committee while he and his camp were meeting separately to discuss election work. Decisions being made by Sajith's faction were not being conveyed to Wickremesinghe and his camp which resulted in a deadlock between the two groups,” they said.
Some members from Sajith's faction told Daily Mirror that Wickremesinghe was 'hell-bent' in retaining UNP leadership despite a majority in the party and its allies calling for a leadership change. Thus, it is difficult for Sajith to 'reason' with Wickremesinghe as they believed Wickremesinghe was working against the party agenda.
Senior members vented their frustration at the deepened rift between the two factions saying this could affect party performance at the upcoming general elections. Several members have now issued a new deadline of one week urging the two leaders to leave aside their differences and reconcile. Several deadlines issued in the recent past have failed. (Jamila Hussain)