Ending months of speculation, heated debates and emotionally charged proclamations, the United National Party formally named Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa its candidate for the upcoming presidential election a short while ago.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe proposed Premadasa’s name at the Working Committee meeting held at party headquarters Sirikotha at 3.00pm today, which was endorsed by all members present.
The Working Committee meeting came on the heels of a separate meeting held at Temple Trees this morning where senior party leaders agreed to select Premadasa’s as the candidate “unanimously and uncondtionally“.
At least 100 party supporters gathered outside Sirikotha could be seen celebrating the announcement amidst the sound of firecrackers, some holding placards that read “a new leadership, a new era” and “Sajith who developed the village, come forward to develop the country.”
The Working Committee meeting is still reportedly taking place at Sirkitotha, to be followed by a UNP parliamentary group meeting. The United National Front (UNF) party leaders are then scheduled to meet at 5.00pm to further endorse Premadasa’s candidacy, subsequent to which the proposed Democratic National Front (DNF) common alliance is expected to name him its candidate for president.
Premadasa will likely contest under the swan symbol used by President Maithripala Sirisena’s campaign in 2015 and Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka’s before him in 2010.