UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said the party will be handed over to a young leader after the provincial council elections, while a new mechanism will be created initially where the younger members could play a major role in the party.
Mr. Wickremesinghe who was speaking at a luncheon meeting at party headquarters Sirikotha on Saturday with the candidates who contested the general election said, the new mechanism will help the younger members to play a major role in the party.
"We will work in line with the decision made in the working committee to hand over the party to a younger leader. We will also give a hearing to the members of the party. Initially, a mechanism will be created under which younger members of the party could play a greater role in the party.
The leadership will be handed over to a younger person who would be selected from among the younger members who would be included in the new mechanism. This will be done after the provincial council elections. The members of the new mechanism will play a big role in the provincial council election campaign," he said.
"We are in a new era. In 1931 when Sri Lanka got universal franchise, there was only print media present. However, there is a digital platform today. Therefore, youth should be engaged to play a greater role in this new platform," Mr. Wickremesinghe added.
"Though we won the presidential election in 2015, we had to work with a President who forgot his past. We lost the local government election. There was further set back with the Easter Sunday bombings. Accordingly, we faced challenges. This resulted in losing the presidential election. Eventually the SLPP was victorious at the general election as well.
It seems that UNP has lost the support of Sinhalese Buddhists. Even our breakaway group SJB has lost the votes of the Buddhists. Our founder leader late D. S. Senanayake said the majority group should lead the nation though all the other ethnic groups should also enjoy equal rights. We should remove this point," he said.
Mr. Wickremesinghe thanked all candidates whom he said had stood with the party in the most challenging times.(Yohan Perera)