UNP MP Sajith Premadasa was appointed deputy leader of the United National Party by the party’s Working Committee yesterday and MP Ravi Karunanayake was appointed assistant leader.
Kurunegala District MP Akila Viraj Kariyawasam was appointed deputy general secretary, MP Eran Wickremeratne as treasurer, MP Ms. Thalatha Atukorala as the secretary of elections affairs and MP Ranjith Madduma Bandara as senior vice president.
Mr. Sajith Premadasa said that he would support UNP national leader Ranil Wickremesinghe unconditionally at the presidential election and gave an assurance that he would contribute his fullest to bring about Mr. Wickremesinghe’s victory.
“UNP National Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe nominated me as the deputy leader and it was unanimously approved by the working committee. I have got an opportunity to give my contribution and strength to save the country which is politically and economically in a mess, and take the people towards prosperity under a UNP government. I will support Mr. Wickremesinghe at the presidential election without any conditions,” he said.
UNP MP Eran Wickremeratne said it was a historic decision to come together as one unit by shedding differences to take the party towards victory.
“The unity of the party has further been proved through the new appointments by the working committee. We have only one objective and that is to set up a UNP government very soon,” he said.
Sources said Mr. Wickremesinghe who was in the chair had told the working committee that any of them could object to the appointment of Mr. Premadasa, if they wished, before the appointment was made. However no one had objected.
UNP Gampaha District MP Ruwan Wijewardene had said that he was willing to step down as the president of National Youth Front to make way for Mr. Harin Fernando the party’s chief ministerial candidate for the Uva Province. However Mr. Fernando had said he was not in a position to accept any such post at the moment. He had later told journalists that his priority was to work for the people of Uva.
Mr. Karunanayake told Daily Mirror, “My concern is to work for the party more than any position but nevertheless I will work in my new post.”
Loud cheers greeted Mr. Premadasa when he came out of Sirikotha afterwards.
However, according to the constitution of the party anyone is free to file objections to the new appointments within seven days.
The leadership council is not likely to be abolished immediately as many of the working committee members had said the council had done the party a lot of good. (Yohan Perera and Ajith Siriwardana)
Pix by Pradeep Pathirana