The Director-General of the Election Commission Saman Rathnayaka said that Sajith Premadasa and his team who withdrew from the United National Party and secured a win at the General Election by contesting from the Samagi Jana Balawegaya are still considered as members of the UNP.
This situation has arisen due to the UNP Working Committee approving Sajith Premadasa’s team contesting the General Election from another party and an ongoing court case regarding the UNP membership
The Election Commission had not yet received a court verdict as to whether they have been expelled from the UNP or not and therefore that team would have to be considered as members of the UNP, he added.
When questioned, SJB General Secretary Ranjith Madduma Bandara said that the team who withdrew from the UNP had already obtained membership of the SJB.
SJB Deputy General Secretary Diana Gamage said that the Election Commission had acknowledged the SJB as a political party as well as an alliance and that Sajith Premadasa and the team had obtained its membership.
According to the SJB constitution, any political party member could obtain membership of the SJB, she added.
The SJB was known as ‘Ape Jathika Peramuna’ before it came to be known as the Samagi Jana Balawegaya and the names of the Party Leader, General Secretary, Deputy Leader and Deputy General Secretary have been amended respectively as Sajith Premadasa, Ranjith Madduma Bandara, Senaka de Silva and Diana Gamage. (Indika Sri Aravinda)