The United National Party (UNP) working committee today approved the suspension of the party membership of its deputy leader Sajith Premadasa and 98 other former ministers, MPs, provincial councillors and organizers.
Former MP Ruwan Wijewardene told journalists that the membership of 99 UNPers will be suspended pending their explanation letters on their decision to contest from another party.
Among the seniors, who were suspended are: Sujeewa Senasinghe, Ranjan Ramanayake, Lakshman Kiriella, Ajith P Perera, Ranjith Aluvihare, Hirunika Premachnadra, Harsha de Silva, Ranjith Madduma Bandara, Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, Eran Wickramaratne, Gayantha Karunatilleke, Mangala Samaraweera, Kabir Hashim, Harin Fernando, Talatha Athukorala and Mayantha Dissanayake
“These members have been suspended on the basis that they defied the party’s decision to contest the general election under the elephant symbol,” Mr. Wijewardene said adding that the doors were still open for these members to rejoin the UNP.
“Some former MPs and others who joined the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) are talking to party Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, myself and to the Assistant Leader Ravi Karunanayake and expressed their willingness to rejoin. They can re-join any time,” Mr. Wijewardene said.
It was revealed that Mr. Premadasa had not been re-appointed as the deputy leader while other posts including that of Chairman have not been filled. The working committee had approved the appointment of lawyer A.S.M. Misbah as the new Treasurer of the party.
The new Deputy Leader and the Chairman are to be appointed later while Mr. Karunanayake and Akila Viraj Kariyawasma were re-appointed as Assistant Leader and General Secretary respectively while Sandith Samarasinghe, Palitha Thewaraperuma, Ashu Marasinghe , Shanthini Kongahage, Nalaka Kolonna, Chanka Illeperuma and Azmi Tashim have been appointed to the working committee.
We will free the UNP from wheeler dealers: SJB
Claiming it is the real United National Party (UNP), the former UNP MPs who joined the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) said yesterday its Working Committee had decided to free the party from the clutches of those whom SJB alleged were involved in deals with the government.
SJB General Secretary Ranjith Madduma Bandara, Kabir Hashim and Lakshman Kiriella, who held a joint news conference yesterday confirmed that its working committee had approved a resolution to this effect.
“We are still UNPers and we have decided to unite the UNP and to free it from the clutches of those who are involved in deals with the government,” Mr. Hashim said. He said they would take action against their suspension from the UNP soon after the election.
Mr. Kiriella said SJB was formed with the approval of the UNP working committee. “Sajith Premadasa was made the Leader of SJB and Ranjith Madduma Bandara was named General Secretary with the approval of the UNP working committee,” he said.
He said five President’s Counsel would appear on behalf of the UNPers whose party membership was suspended. “We will start working from Sirikotha after the elections,” Mr. Kiriella said.
Meanwhile, Filed Marshal Sarath Fonseka said he would file action against the suspension from the UNP membership at an appropriate time.