Opposition UNP leader and presidential candidate Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday his party would definitely form a government by the end of this year.
Addressing a meeting at party headquarters Sirikotha to mark the 40th anniversary of the Jathika Sevaka Sangamaya branch of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation, Mr. Wickremesinghe said that after taking over government, the party would launch a full-scale development programme next year.
Lashing out at the government, he said the UPFA had come to office promising a 70 percent pay hike but the people were now saddled with a 70 percent hike in the cost of living.
UNP Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya said the country desperately needed an able leader and the man for the job was Ranil Wickremesinghe who would have widespread national and international support.
UNP frontliner Rajitha Senaratne said the country would have a presidential election this year and the decision would be known on Friday.He said nobody could now stop Mr. Wickremesinghe from becoming the president of the country.
He claimed that JVP trade union members in the Batticaloa district were joining the UNP in large numbers as were some 3,000 members of an SLFP trade union.