The United National Party (UNP) yesterday informed the Elections Commissioner that it would be contesting all 22 electoral districts, at the parliamentary polls fixed for April 25.
Confirmation was made in writing by the General Secretary of the party, Akila Viraj Kariyawasam.
The official announcement comes amidst the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), formed by UNP Deputy leader Sajith Premadasa saying that the SJB and UNP should contest the General Election as an alliance under the ‘Telephone’ symbol.
Senior UNP member, John Ameratunga said that negotiations were on, to sort out the differences between the two sides, but if a compromise could not be reached, the UNP would contest under the ‘ Elephant’ symbol, in an alliance of like minded political parties.
Talks cannot drag on, since there was not much time left to file nominations, he noted, pointing out that the UNP leadership had been flexible, in first nominating Premadasa as its Presidential candidate and thereafter making him the Opposition leader and now the Prime Ministerial candidate.
In trying to win personal battles, unity of the party cannot be sacrificed, Ameratunga stressed. He said that their main focus should be on defeating the corrupt and dictatorial Rajapaksa regime, so that it would not be able to dilute the historic 19th Amendment to the Constitution introduced by the previous Ranil Wickremesinghe government, which had empowered the people, public servants and Parliament.
Informed sources revealed that if Premadasa decided to go it alone, former Speaker Karu Jayasuriya would be appointed to lead the UNP’s polls campaign.
Former Kalutara District MP Rajitha Senaratne said that the masses had now realized that they made a mistake in voting for the Podujana Peramuna at the last Presidential Election.
” When we go to the villages, people tell us, that seeing what’s happening now, they regret having fallen for false propaganda against the UNP. The Podujana Peramuna will be taught a bitter lesson at the parliamentary polls”, he added.
(Source: The Island – By Zacki Jabbar)