Ranil faction wins WC tussle; dissidents demand reforms

A tug-o-war between two groups of UNP Working Committee (WC) members on whether the party should introduce reforms forthwith ended with the group loyal to party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe winning. The winners want reforms postponed until after the no-confidence motion debate and vote in Parliament scheduled for April 4.

The WC, comprising a majority of members appointed by the party leader, also decided to campaign hard to defeat of the no-confidence motion, party sources said.

According to the WC resolution, party reforms including appointments to key positions will be introduced on April 5, 6 and 9.

A group of MPs led by deputy and state ministers Range Bandara and Sujeewa Senasinghe demanded that the reforms be introduced by April 4 so that the party would be able to muster the support of all UNP MPs to defeat any motion.

They also demanded that the party should field its own candidate under the elephant symbol at the 2020 Presidential polls, party sources said.

Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe said that there was no need for band-aid solutions and postponing the changes to the key positions of the party any further. Only such changes would ensure the future victories of the party, Minister Senasinghe told The Island.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe pledged that he would bring in changes in accordance with the recommendations made by the Ruwan Wijewardene Committee on party reforms and the proposals made by the local government and provincial council members.

The proposal by the Tilak Marapana committee, which investigated the Treasury bond scams incidents, to remove Ravi Karunanayake from the party’s assistant leader post, too, had been taken up for discussion, but no final decision had been made, sources said.

A WC member said that the Attorney General had not yet made any decision with regard to the treasury bond scam and the committee decided to wait till the Attorney General’s decision on the matter to effect changes.

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