Former State Minister of Defense Ruwan Wijewardene was elected Deputy Leader at a secret ballot today.
UNP Legal Secretary Nissanka Nanayakkara told journalists that a secret ballot was conducted when both Mr. Wijewardene and Assistant Leader Ravi Karunanayake informed the working committee that they would contest for the post.
Mr. Wijewardene was apparently elected as the Deputy Leader with a majority of 18 votes. Accordingly, Mr. Wijewardene polled 28 votes while Mr. Karunanayake polled 10 votes.
It was reported that Former Ministers Navin Dissanayake and Vajira Abeywardene did not contest for the Deputy Leader’s post.
Will compete for party leadership too: Ruwan
Former State Minister of Defence Ruwan Wijewardene who was elected as the new Deputy Leader of the UNP said he will compete for the party leadership as well in the future.
“I will also compete for the party leadership in the future. The party will continue with the present leadership for a few months after which a new leader would be selected,” Mr. Wijewardene told journalists after his election at Sirikotha yesterday.
“My only intention now is to reorganise the party and bring back the glory it enjoyed in the past. I will travel to every corner in the country and reorganise the party,” he added while highlighting that he would not go to Parliament through the national list.
He thanked the party leadership and the working committee members who elected him to the new post. “There was a cordial discussion among the working committee members to decide on the post but it was decided to go for a vote at the end. There was a secret ballot but everything was done cordially. I have no issue with my contender Ravi Karunanayake and I am looking forward to work with him to take the party to great heights,” he said.
Mr. Wijewardene is the third UNP Deputy Leader to be elected to the post. The first Deputy Leader to be elected by a ballot was late President R. Premadasa in 1973 while former Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa was also elected in a secret ballot in 2011. Former Speaker Karu Jayasuriya was unanimously elected as the Deputy Leader in 1999.