United, we will triumph – Ranil | Daily News


With coalition partners attending, Sajith unanimously endorsed as UNP-UNF candidate:

United, we will triumph – Ranil

Call for more women’s participation in leadership:

“Our strength is our unity and united we will triumph and if we divide we are certain to fail,” Prime Minister and United National Party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe declared yesterday after he had proposed Sajith Premadasa as his party’s and the UNP-led United National Front’s candidate at the forthcoming presidential elections. The Prime Minister was addressing a packed Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium, the venue of the special party representatives’ conference convened especially to endorse Premadasa’s candidacy.

“Therefore, I urge all young party leaders not to allow others to create division within the party and always remain united. As long as I am the leader of the party I will do everything in my power to keep the party together,” Wickremesinghe said,

stressing that an important task was to build up women’s participation in the party’s leadership to represent the female half of the citizenry.

UNP Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa’s name was officially proposed by party leader Wickremesinghe as the presidential candidate of the United National Front (UNF) and he then asked for a show of hands in support of the proposal which received unanimous approved. Wickremesinghe got on stage to make the proposal accompanied by Premadasa’s mother and former First Lady Hema Premadasa. The UNP Convention was held at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium yesterday under the patronage of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe with several leaders of the UNF coalition partners also attending.

Addressing the convention UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said the UNP has had to face numerous obstacles and challenges during the past four years, but even as a minority the party withstood all these challenges and overcame all obstacles to be where they are today. “We took some time, but eventually we did it without allowing the party to split. In 1991 Ranasinghe Premadasa was nominated as the presidential candidate at the Sugathadasa stadium and as fate would have it today his son is being nominated as the presidential candidate at the same venue.”

However, Wickremesinghe said that the party took time to build a young line of leaders and as a senior leader of the party, looking down at his lineup of young leaders he sees one shortcoming. “I am glad we have a second line of young leaders in our party, but I am sorry to note that I don’t see any women among this leadership group, which is sad. Over half of the country’s population is made up of women, but we don’t see any women leaders. We need to rectify this situation and promote female leadership in our party.”

The UNP Leader noted that despite all trials and tribulations the party had to endure, eventually we managed to overcome these differences and obstacles due to the strong unity within the party. “I have had to crawl, endure humiliation and many other adversaries, but I endured them all and held on. Despite being a minority government we scored sixes at every over bowled to us by our adversaries and we are still standing tall stronger than ever in unity. We have done a lot against all odds and we have increased salaries, reduced fuel prices and improved education, health and other facilities and also built many houses and roads for the people. We will continue to serve the people even better within a UNP led UNF government and under a UNP president. We will provide maximum benefits to infants and children and mothers as well. We only have two more steps to reach our goal, one is to win the presidential election and the other is to establish a UNF government and we will then lead the country to prosperity.”

UNP General Secretary Akila Viraj Kariyawasam presented five proposals at the party convention which was also approved unanimously.

Three proposals previously approved by the UNP Working Committee on September 26, 2019 including power devolution, reform of the electoral system and continuation of the constitutional reform process begun by the Government, including reform of the Executive Presidency, were also adopted at the special party convention.

A proposal to reaffirm the Working Committee decision on January 24 to appoint Ranil Wickremesinghe to the leadership of the party was also approved.

In addition, a proposal to acknowledge and commend Speaker Karu Jayasuriya for his courage and steadfastness during the 52 day political crisis, upholding parliamentary democracy through the hardest period, was also approved.

Meanwhile, UNP Chairman Kabir Hashim, in his welcome address said he is certain that on November 17th the country will see a UNP President since 2005. “We have come to this point after a long struggle. We are here today having made many sacrifices over the past four years,” he said and thanked all those who supported and stood by the UNP during its hardest times.

He said the UNP is a forward thinking party and that was why they took the decision to appoint a young leader who could steer the party for the next 15-20 years. “There is no alternative. The opposition decides on their leaders at the family mansion of the privileged family. We are not like that and we have chosen the son of a common man who can feel the difficulties of the common people. It is amazing that people who condemned and criticized J.R. Jayawardena for the Executive Presidency, are today holding onto it and don’t want it abolished.”

Hashim noted that the UNP had given the people what they asked for, which is Sajith Premadasa. However, the SLPP candidate is someone that the people fear. They don’t need another white van era. He added that the greatest strength of the UNP is its unity and thanked the party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe for his sacrifices and patience to keep the party together and for taking the right decisions at the right time.

UNP General Secretary Akila Viraj Kariyawasam addressing the convention said that the UNP is just 1 ½ months away from seeing their own president being appointed. He noted tat the opposition was hoping that the UNP would be unable to resolve the internal issues and would eventually split up. “Our leader did not allow that to happen and proving them all wrong, he kept the party together and today we stand united and stronger than ever and we have proved them all wrong.”

Akila Viraj said that the official UNF Presidential campaign will kick-off on October 10th at 2.00 pm at the Galle Face Green where thousands of supporters are expected to attend the gigantic rally promoting Sajith Premadasa as the UNP Presidential candidate.



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