UNP to finalise party reforms and leadership issue in early Sept.

Wednesday, 26 August 2020 01:32 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Working Committee ends inconclusively 
  • Decision likely next week: Official 
  • Karu absent at WC meeting after offering to take up leadership  

UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe


By Asiri Fernando

Uncertainty over the United National Party’s (UNP) future leadership continued after its Working Committee failed to reach a decision, with any outcome postponed to next week. 

“The Working Committee unanimously agreed that the party should carry out all the changes necessary for reforming the party by the end of the first week of September, including the matter on leadership,” UNP Legal Secretary Nissanka Nanayakkara PC told Daily FT. 

Issuing a brief press release, the UNP said that the Working Committee will meet in the first week of September and decide on the leadership as per the party constitution. 

UNP sources indicated that former Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, who had indicated his willingness to become the next leader of the party, had not attended yesterday’s meeting. Jayasuriya issued a press release on Monday stating that he had informed the party and some senior members that he was up for the challenge of becoming the leader of the UNP and reforming the party.  

Others including party General Secretary Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, Ruwan Wijewardena, Ravi Karunanayake, Vajira Abeygunawardena and Daya Gamage have indicated their interest in becoming the next leader of the UNP. The party holds one National List seat in the current Parliament, but disputes within the party as to who should represent the party in Parliament, has left the seat vacant so far. 

The matter regarding who will represent the party in Parliament using the National List seat will be decided in the near future, Nanayakkara said, pointing out that the party will inform the Elections Commission and Parliament afterwards. The UNP held a number of Working Committee meetings in the lead up to the Presidential Elections of 2019, where the issue of leadership was hotly debated. However, the issue remains unresolved up to date.