The UNP would not announce its presidential candidate without unveiling the policies of the coalition it would establish, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said, on Saturday, at Ankumbura.
The party would first build a powerful political coalition and then field a presidential candidate from that alliance, he said, adding that the unveiling of the coalition’s manifesto would coincide with the naming of its presidential candidate.
“We have both the policies and the candidate. I would like to see the plans and policies of those who ask how we can develop the economy. In 2015, we fielded a common opposition candidate. We have made progress. We need to ensure that these victories are not taken away. Thus, we decided to build a coalition that can retain the democratic gains we made and can establish a modern export driven economy.”
Wickremesinghe said that the building of the coalition had reached its final stage and that they had ironed out differences over some contentious clauses in the constitution. “We will contest the coming presidential election as an alliance. We came together once when the country was facing a massive crisis and we will come together again to take the country forward,” he said.
Wickremsinghe added that the Easter Sunday blasts had led to a crisis in the country. Tourism, which was initially devastated, had recovered. A significant number of people expected the economy and the national security to collapse, he said.
“This also led to a political crisis. The people lost their faith in the government. They lost their faith in politicians. But I would like to stress that we also managed to arrest a number of key culprits within nine hours.”
Wickremesinghe said that the swift action taken by the government had ensured that the terrorist network was broken.