A meeting of the UNP parliamentary group convened yesterday to discuss the request by supporters of Sajith Premadasa that he be appointed the party leader, ended with current leader Ranil Wickremesinghe announcing that he, Karu Jayasuriya and Sajith would sort out the issue among themselves next week.
Informed sources said that at the outset of the meeting at Sirikotha, Wickremesinghe had announced that 95 percent of those he had spoken to, had advised him not to call for a vote and split the party, but to sort out the leadership issue through consultation and consensus as they had done when they selected Sajith as the party’s candidate at the last presidential election.
After various matters including the Ranajan Ramanayake issue had been discussed, Wickremesinghe accompanied by 13 of the 65 MPs present left the premises, sources added.
Harsha de Silva MP said that after Wickremesinghe had departed, they had called for an unofficial vote with Sajith in the Chair and the remaining 51 MPs had decided that Sajith be appointed leader of the UNP.
He said that beginning today they would commence talks with their alliance partners on the electoral arrangements for the general election expected to be held in April.
(Source: The Island – By Zacki Jabbar)