Monks moot UNP Leadership Council

Saturday, 5 October 2013 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Priests meet Sajith, Karu, Ranil separately
  • Prominent Bhikkus propose Karu for Chairman of Council
  • Proposal to constitutionally remove position of UNP Leader and replace with Council
  • Ranil to remain Opposition Leader
  • Monks’ proposal before UNP Working Committee on Monday
    By Dharisha Bastians Prominent Buddhist monks have urged UNP seniors to establish a Leadership Council that will replace the all-powerful position of Party Leader in the beleaguered main opposition. Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and former Deputy Leaders Karu Jayasuriya and Sajith Premadasa met with senior monks of the United Bhikku Front and other prominent bhikkus who are intervening to resolve the massive crisis in the UNP. The monks proposed a leadership council for the UNP comprising five, seven or nine members, sources told Daily FT. The Council to be headed by a chairman will replace the all-powerful party leader position, as per the proposal the sources said. “In the even the Council is established, the position of UNP Leader will cease to exist,” a senior UNP member said. Former UNP Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya has been proposed by the senior monks for chairman of the Leadership Council. Wickremesinghe would remain Opposition Leader once the Council is set up, according to the proposal. The Leadership Council will have constitutional powers within the party greater that its Working Committee, the sources said. The Council will be able to make recommendations to the Working Committee. When UNP Leader Wickremesinghe met the monks at 2 p.m. for one hour yesterday, the monks proposed the new leadership structure. However Daily FT learns that Wickremesinghe was agreeable to the Council but insisted he be permitted to retain the Party Leader position. “The UNP Leader does not want to sit on the Council however but keep his position,” a party member said. Wickremesinghe has asked the monks for time till Monday when the UNP’s Working Committee will meet to decide on the proposal. The meeting was held at the historic Rajakeeyaramaya Temple in Polwatte at which Sri Lanka’s first Prime Minister D.S. Senanayake worshipped on the morning of the country’s independence in February 1948.