Sajith will be backed by UNP team: Harsha

Friday, 16 August 2019 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}



  • Insists Premadasa becoming presidential candidate will not mean RW will be “discarded” 
  • Says RW very important for the UNP
  • Argues candidature is only a question of winnability 
  • Says Premadasa will be guided by team of UNP members when making governance decisions 


Non-Cabinet Minister of Economic Reforms and Public Distribution Dr. Harsha de Silva yesterday defended United National Party (UNP) members backing Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa insisting it was not their intention to

Dr. Harsha de
Sajith Premadasa

“discard” UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe but rather to create a credible group of people capable of taking the country forward. 

Responding to questions from reporters, Dr. de Silva defended Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as a person with great knowledge and vision who had protected the UNP and taken it forward during crucial times. However, he conceded that in order to win the next elections they needed to present a different candidate to the people and argued there was enough democratic space within the UNP for that to happen without splintering the party. 

“The UNP is a party that has democracy. Our positions are not decided by our last name. For example as Treasure of the UNP I have power within the party but I’m not related to anyone at the top. There is space for different people from different walks to life to come up in the party. No one wants to discard the Prime Minister. That will not happen. This is only about winnability, we have to win for this country so there will be peace and this country can prosper,” he said. 

Dr. de Silva also contended that it was imperative for a competent group of people to back the presidential hopeful, as under the 19th Amendment the next President would have limited powers but would still be a key figure in spearheading reforms and good governance. Therefore, the UNP members backing Premadasa hope to bolster his chances by presenting their own competence for voters to consider. 

“Sajith (Premadasa) will be guided by us in all matters. We will propose a team. People will have look at teams from both sides and decide.” (UJ)