UNP split over constitution of proposed new alliance
Posted on August 1st, 2019

Courtesy Adaderana

According to several MPs, the draft constitution for the proposed new alliance has not been approved at the United National Party (UNP) Working Committee meeting, contrary to the statements made by UNP General Secretary Akila Viraj Kariyawasam.

The meeting was held at the Temple Trees chaired by Party Leader Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe at 9.45 am this morning (01).

It had been previously announced that the United National Front (UNF) and several political parties will sign Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) to enter into a new alliance on the 5th of August.

However, the group supporting Minister Sajith Premadasa as the UNP Presidential candidate had requested the Committee not to sign the relevant MoUs on August 5th.

The group supporting Premadasa further stated that they are against the draft constitution of the proposed new alliance over several weaknesses such as the General Secretary of the alliance, the address of the alliance, and the majority power of the alliance.

According to Minister Ajith P. Perera, Minister Sajith Premadasa had volunteered to take up the post of the General Secretary of the alliance.

Perera stated that Party Leader, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe, had requested proposals on the relevant weaknesses and amendments to the constitution.

He further stated the majority’s opinion was that signing the MoU on the 5th of August was not suitable, yet no agreement was reached on the matter.

Minister Harsha de Silva stated that, although a vote on the matter was proposed, the Committee didn’t go for a vote as the decision has to be taken together as a party.

However, when Ada Derana inquired UNP General Secretary Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, he stated that it was agreed upon that the MoU on the alliance would be signed on the 5th of August as planned.

Kariyawasam stated that several members objected to the constitution of the new alliance and amendments to the constitution will be discussed with input from Party Leaders.

Minister Kariyawasam and former Opposition leader of the Southern Provincial Council Tennakoon Nilame stated that the nomination of the UNP Presidential Candidate was not discussed at the meeting.

However, Minister Ajith P. Perera stated that they proposed to the Committee that the Presidential Candidate must be chosen before entering into any alliances and senior members of the party such as Ministers Kabir Hashim and Mangala Samaraweera agreed on this.

Speaking to the media following another event today in Colombo, Minister Ajith P. Perera stated that all in the Working Committee unanimously agree to form a new alliance; however, there were objections to the content of the constitution drafted for the new alliance.

He says that a heavy objection was towards not appointing a UNP member for the post of General Secretary of the alliance.

There is no mention of the presidential election in the draft constitution, which is a grave matter, he said.

The scale of the event organized for the signing of the MoUs was also debated, according to Perera.

The Majority, except for 12 Working Committee members and Party Leader Prime Minister Wickremesinghe, disapproved of rushing into signing the agreement for the alliance on August 5.

Perera also added that the statements that a vote was taken on the matter of the draft constitution are completely false. This was in reference to a statement made by Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam that a vote was taken on the constitution and the proposal was passed with 35 votes in favor and 7 against. Kariyawasam had further said that Minister Sajith Premadasa refrained from voting.

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