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UNP WORKING COMMITTEE THROWS WEIGHT BEHIND PM

UNP Parliamentarians were upbeat about defeating the No-Confidence Motion (NCM) against the Prime Minister following a two hour Working Committee meeting yesterday.

The Working Committee meeting was chaired by Prime Minister and UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe at the Sirikotha UNP Head Office to discuss the NCM and the way forward for the party.

“The UNP will defeat the NCM and immediately undertake major party reforms of leadership structure,” National Policies and Economic Affairs State Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva said.

Party sources said the Working Committee has decided to consecutively sit from April 5-7 to finalise party reforms and implement them within two months.

“It was unanimously agreed to vote en bloc to defeat the NCM against the Prime Minister and the Government brought by the Joint Opposition. It is expected that all UNP MPs, except perhaps one or two who are not with the party, will vote against the NCM,” Dr. de Silva said in a note on his official Facebook account.

A resolution to back the PM during the NCM on April 4 was passed unanimously at the meeting.

Party sources confirmed that State Minister Palitha Range Bandara, who initially suggested the idea of bringing a No-Confidence Motion against PM Wickremesinghe, has also agreed to vote against the motion.

“If any MP goes against the unanimous decision of the Party, he will face stern action,” UNP sources explained.

Dr. de Silva further said in his note that PM Wickremesinghe at the meeting undertook to implement the recommendations given in the reports of the three committees appointed in the aftermath of the Local Government Elections. The three committees were chaired by Minister Sajith Premadasa, State Minister Ruwan Wijewardene and MP J.C. Aluwathuwala.

The first committee has come up with 38 recommendations on matters related to policies and the second committee has come up with 27 recommendations on party reforms. The Third committee has looked into the issues faced by backbenchers and party organisers.

“The recommendations will be implemented with amendments if necessary to ensure UNP is reinvigorated to become a strong party that can win elections” he added.

State Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe had proposed at the meeting that the UNP should not support a common candidate at the next Presidential election.

The working committee had also discussed about the recommendations of the Committee headed by Tilak Marapana, which was appointed to examine the report submitted by the Commission of Inquiry into the Treasury Bonds issue. UNP sources close to MP Ravi Karunanayake said the working committee was of the view that there was no basis for the recommendation of Marapana Committee that MP Karunanayake has to be removed from the post of Assistant Leader of UNP.

“It was pointed out at the meeting that the Attorney General has not yet taken any legal action against the MP. MP Karunanayake has also informed the committee that he would not quit his position,” sources added.

At the meeting UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe had asked his Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa to think beyond provincial level politics and take up national level issues.

“Be ready to go around the country and solve people’s problems without being restricted to Hambantota” he had told Premadasa.

“Many members discussed the pros and cons with several voicing their opinions on the need to ensure the party reforms are done as soon as possible and they must be significant; unlike the Cabinet reshuffle. It was argued that we must listen carefully to what our party cadres across the country as well as what the general public sympathetic to the UNP are saying out loud. It was also agreed to take on board the proposals made by our allies making up the UNF upon discussions with them,” Dr.de Silva commented.

“All agreed to start discussions on party and policy reforms on April 5 soon after we defeat the NCM on April 4 and conclude the discussions hopefully by the close of business on April 8. The term of office of all office bearers were only extended until April 30. A hard deadline has been set,” he summed up.