Hold proxy vote to select PM nominee, say UNP members

The internal rift within the United National Party is escalating with its Provincial and Local Government members demanding to hold a proxy vote among them to choose a member for the Prime Minister’s post and the party leadership.

The UNP hopefuls and party veterans have been unnerved by its leadership’s constant reluctance to provide any political opportunities for its promising members.

Former Minister and Kurunegala district UNP Parliamentarian Ashok Abeysinghe yesterday said, some of their Parliamentarians, Provincial Council members and Local Government members have expressed their views regarding this to the party.

“The party is concerned about it. I too have voiced my views in this regard,” he said.

Asked what his views were, Abeysinghe said, “The UNP leadership should change without delay.”

As regards finding a nominee for the Prime Minister’s position, he said,” I am aware that our (UNP) Provincial Council and Local Government members and some Parliamentarians have communicated to our party top brass to hold a UNP Party Convention.”

UNP sources said they have informed the party echelons to hold a vote during that Party Convention to select a nominee for the position of Prime Minister.

Abeysinghe said, “This is not a bad idea at all.”

“But our (UNP) Working Committee and Parliamentary Committee had yet to decide on that,” he said.

It should not have been difficult for the UNP to nominate a member other than Wickremesinghe for the Prime Minister’s position when the President called them to do so.

UNP Parliamentarian Speaker Kau Jayasuriya and the UNP Deputy Leader have declined to accept the President’s offer of Prime Minister’s Post to replace Wickeremesinghe.

UNP MP Manusha Nanayakkara said appointing a new leader for the party seems necessary. “It will be done at the right time by the UNP.”

The President may call on us to choose a new MP for that post, but then it would not be Constitutional, as pointed out by Nanayakkara. Asked what would UNP do about requests made by its public representatives from PCs and LGs to choose a Prime Minister nominee at a Party Convention, he said, “I am aware that there are many talks in this regard. But, I do not know whether there has been any official request by our camp.” Our sources said that several UNP groups have submitted a letter in this connection to the UNP Secretary General. 

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