The UNP’s nemesis | Page 2 | Daily News

The UNP’s nemesis

With the powerful frontline leadership of the United National Party tragically obliterated Ranil Wickremesinghe by luck had the leadership fallen on his lap. JR Jayewardene and R. Premadasa consolidated the power of the UNP with a strong support base to be the strongest single political party in the country, with Gamini Dissanayake and Lalith Atulatmudali as protégés to follow. But fate deemed otherwise.

When the UNP with one seat less to claim a power in Parliament at the 1994 General Elections then incumbent young Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe without even of a semblance of a fight to retain power threw in the towel and surreptitiously left the Temple Trees leaving the UNPers aghast. CBK became Prime Minister and thereafter President thanks to the LTTE deciding the outcome by assassinating Gamini Dissanayake.

Six-year reign of Chandrika Kumaratunga

During the six-year reign of Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga the economic development rate plunged to below zero and the war with the LTTE took a disastrous turn leaving the country in turmoil. With no other option people elected the UNP under Ranil in 2000. It was a most difficult situation and in fairness to Ranil, he had to refloat a sinking economy. Although considered a complete giveaway to the LTTE the Peace Accord gave a much-needed breathing space to the people and unintendedly though did become a significant factor contributing to the ultimate defeat of LTTE.

Ranil’s stringent economic measures to better the economy which did seem to go beyond the already unbearable limits and arrogance in governance, suspicions on the motives of the Norwegian brokered Peace Accord did make him despised among the people at large. Those who most suffered were the UNPers whose expectations of jobs and compensation for victimization under the previous regime were completely ignored.

The threat of CBK capitalizing on the situation was becoming clear and imminent which Ranil in his own wisdom wished to ignore even grounding the moves to impeach her. CBK took back two important Ministries and dissolved Parliament in 2002.

New Prime Minister

The UNP had to wait 13 years to come back to power again under similar circumstances that pervaded in 2000. When Maithripala Sirisena became President in January 2015 Ranil should have had the Parliament dissolved in the wake of President Sirisena’s election to maximize the UNP victory and form a UNP Government. Instead, he flirted crowning himself as the Prime Minister of a Yahapalanaya coalition with a UNP minority in Parliament, which exercise has boomeranged on him cited as a precedent by the new PM and his advocates.

Sacking of Ranil Wickremesinghe on October 26 as Prime Minister was similar to what floored him in 2002 by President CBK. Ranil never seemed to learn or to regret his mistakes. A person with an iota of intelligence saw what was coming to his Premiership in his uncompromising feud with the President.

Ranil in his naivety and complacence wrapped in arrogance failed to sense the very obvious that was unfolding. His stupidity did push the President Sirisena to act as he did rightly or wrongly plunging the country into a precarious situation.

Ranil Wickremesinghe has tragically ridiculed the dignity of the great political party. Under Ranil’s uninspiring leadership since 1994, for nearly 25 years, UNP has been in the opposition for nearly 20 years with Ranil failing to hold on to power for more than two years on the first occasion he was entrusted by default of the CBK government in 2000 and now for not more than three years. He has cunningly insulated himself from being sacked needing a revolt within.

Under him, the erosion of the support base of the UNP has reached enormous proportions.

For the sake of the country and the Party, Ranil must necessarily quit now and handover leadership for a rejuvenation of the Party to rise again, for the future is more than an enormous challenge for the new Cabinet to fulfil promises being made to the people.



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