UNP for more coalition-formation talks | Daily News
Backbenchers thank PM

UNP for more coalition-formation talks

The United National Party’s parliamentarians and other leadership elements have welcomed the decision by the party leadership to postpone the launching and the signing of the formation document of the proposed Democratic National Front (DNF) to contest the forthcoming Presidential Election.

The memorandum of agreement was to have been signed by all leaders of the political parties committed to the new Front at a special ceremony in Colombo today.

The latest development was the outcome of an agreement arrived at between Party leader, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, and the UNP backbenchers on Saturday night (3), sources said. Party sources told the Daily News that the postponing of the scheduled function at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium this morning would give more time for the UNP to negotiate a comprehensive framework for the Front to enable the formation of a very strong and a more democratic alliance.

“It is also expected that all party supporters would flock around the party in the coming days,” these sources said adding that it has been the firm demand of the Party’s principal stakeholders for the naming of the Presidential candidate first and the forming of the alliance subsequently.UNP General Secretary and Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, making a special announcement yesterday following the party’s decision, told news media that the postponement of the formation of the new broad multi-party alliance until consensus was reached among all Party stakeholders showcased the democratic nature of their party. He explained that this decision has been taken in order to reconsider the new proposals and resolutions presented by various factions with regard to the proposed new alliance.

When contacted, UNP MP and Non-Cabinet Minister Ajith P. Perera pointed out that the postponement of today’s coalition-building function was a decision of national importance for the stability of the UNP, the party supporters and, for the country’s democracy.

Perera the Daily News that he “appreciated the role of the party leader” and thanked him for making this decision after listening to UNP Presidential aspirant and Minister Sajith Premadasa.

“Even the minor political parties are demanding Sajith Premadasa. Therefore, we expect that a unanimous decision will be taken finally to name Premadasa as the candidate”, he said. UNP backbencher, Ratnapura District MP Hesha Withanage told Daily News that it has been the request of the group of backbenchers that the Party should enter into an alliance with other parties while protecting the UNP’s own identity. For that, he said the United National Party should form an alliance only with appropriate partners. Withanage also said that, as a group, the backbenchers are unanimous in their desire to nominate Sajith Premadasa and they were pleased about yesterday’s decision to postpone the formation of the new alliance.

Badulla District MP, Chaminda Wijesiri said that it was the request of all participants at Saturday’s meeting that they should present a candidate who can win the race at the Presidential election. He expressed his pleasure over the postponing of the event saying that they can take every viable decision to win the election during the coming days.

Meanwhile, Minister P. Harisson speaking to news media after an event held in the Ipalogama area said yesterday that the signing of the MoU for the new alliance has been postponed based on a request by several Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) and Sri Lanka Freedom Party MPs who expect to join and support the UNP-led Democratic National Front. He argued that the general secretary of the proposed new UNP-led alliance should be from the United National Party and the candidate to contest the election should be elected through a collective decision.

Leader of the House, Minister Lakshman Kiriella, speaking to media at the Kandy District Secretariat premises yesterday (4) had stated that the leadership of the new alliance to be formed will be held by the United National Party’s leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. He said the power given to the leader of the proposed alliance is to be a veto power and therefore, more powers within the board of leaders of the DNF will also be in the hand of the UNP leader. The minister also said that the formation of the new alliance will be done within a few days.

However, when contacted by the Daily News, Minister Ravi Karunanayake refused to comment on the new developments that took place yesterday.

Addressing news media at the Maligawa premises in Kandy on Saturday, he said that there would be no challenge and the United National Party was confident of their victory.

He said the UNP so far has not nominated any candidate for the election but there are many seniors, who are qualified to become the Presidential candidate from within the party.


 

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