UNP National Organiser and Plantation Industries Minister Navin Dissananyake
- Welcome new members to build a strong UNP to claim majority in the Parliament
- Says new members important at critical times, as TNA might not support all times
- Justifies 35 member Cabinet important to remain 113 majority considering the political upheavals
- Believes coalition still on as UNF and SLMC are part of it despite UPFA moving out
The United National Party (UNP) National Organiser and Plantation Industries Minister Navin Dissanayake said they were ready to face a General Election post-April, while insisting they are keen to welcome new members to build a strong party that can claim the majority in the Parliament going forward.
“As the National Organiser of the UNP we are all set for a General Election. I have already informed the leader and other senior members of the party that we need to be prepared for an election after April 2019,” he told journalists in Colombo yesterday.
With plans underway to restructure and build a strong party for the upcoming elections, Dissanayake said they welcome MPs from other parties that are ready to take membership of UNP and accept its policies wholeheartedly.
“I personally believe there is no issue in giving membership to those MPs who have principles and crossed over to our camp and got the membership, which MPs A.H.M Fowzie, Vijith Vijayamuni Soysa and Indika Bandaranike has already done,” he added.
Pointing out that Tamil National Alliance (TNA) might not support at all times, he said it was therefore important to expand the new membership that believes in the vision and the policies of the UNP which can be used as a buffer.
Dissanayake also stressed it was not fair by President Maithripala Sirisena to make an objection in appointing those Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) members as Ministers.
“If those who crossed over from our side such as Wijayadasa Rajapaksa and Dunesh Gangkanda can be given portfolios, I think those crossed over from SLFP also entitles to Ministerial posts. I think it was a very prejudiced rule. We have categorically conveyed our disappointment and disagreement to President during our discussions,” the Minister asserted.
When asked if it was important to have a 35 member Cabinet, he said it was justifiable particularly in maintaining the majority in the Parliament.
“I think the list that was sent to President with 35 or 36 names was reasonable. I believe 35-members in the Cabinet is necessary because otherwise it is difficult to maintain the 113 majority in the Parliament with the political upheavals we have from time to time. We now have a stable Government and we hope to uphold and continue steadily in the future,” he added.
Dissanayake also noted that they still believe the Coalition Government is still in force even though United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) has moved out. “The National Government was formed with the collective consent of the United National Front (UNF), UPFA and Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC). Although UPFA is no longer a part of the coalition, the UNF and SLMC are still on, which was signed and approved by the Parliament. We have sought for the Attorney General’s opinion on this and I believe it is still on.”