The Reformists had opposed the passage of the 18th Amendment to the Constitution as it gave the incumbent President unbridled power. "We wanted the 17th Amendment to remain to ensure President Rajapaksa cannot do as he pleased. But unfortunately the situation in the UNP is very much similar to the crisis in the country."
Addressing the inaugural meet of a campaign aimed at ousting Wickremesinghe, Western Provincial Councillor Shilal Lakthilake declared that the incumbent leader couldn’t be allowed to run the party under ‘emergency regulations’. He said that the UNP had been attacking the Rajapaksa regime for suppressing democracy, whereas the UNP lacked internal democracy.
Among those present at the meeting at the Public Library were Co-Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa, MP, Ranjith Maddumabandara, MP, Dayasiri Jayasekera, MP, Thalatha Atukorale, MP, Rosy Senanayake, MP, Buddhika Pathirana, MP, Sujeeva Serasinghe, MP, former Minister Imithiaz Bakeer Markar, one-time Assistant leader Rukman Senanayake and over a dozen UNP veterans, including Daham Wimalasena, Palitha Palpola, Henry Jayamaha, U. L. M. Farook and Anura Bastian.
The Nugegoda District Judge issued notice yesterday on United National Party (UNP) leader Ranil Wickremesinghe sequel to a case filed against the appointment of Ravi Karunanayake as the party’s national organiser.
District Judge. Champa Janaki Rajaratne made this direction following a civil suit filed by UNP Southern PC member Maithri Guneratne complaining that the appointment of Ravi Karunanayake was undemocratic.
He cited the UNP leader and 74 others, including party General Secretary Tissa Attanayake and Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya, as defendants, and complained that they had not followed the correct procedure when appointing Ravi Karunanayake as national organiser. Mr. Gunaratne said that the appointment was against the party constitution and asked court to cancel the appointment.
Having heard the submissions, the district judge issued notice on the defendants, returnable on May 23, and directed that the notice be pasted on UNP headquarters, Sirikotha.
The decision to elect Ravi Karunanayake as United National Party (UNP) national organizer was not made by party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe but by the Working Committee though Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa alleges otherwise, General Secretary Tissa Attanayake said yesterday.
"It may embarrass Mr. Premadasa if I tell you what exactly happened," Mr. Attanayake said and added that the party had to sort out a few more problems though they were not as severe as the leadership crisis that had been successfully resolved.
"It is nothing unusual to have problems but these too will be resolved amicably. The government is also facing various problems but these are kept under wraps and go unreported," Mr. Attanayake said.
Meanwhile the UNP had asked the government to hold elections to the remaining local councils on one day.
"It is economically and democratically unwise to hold elections on a staggered basis. The election to the Colombo Municipal Council is long overdue. Why is the government afraid to hold this election," Mr. Attanayake said.
Elections to the local government bodies that could not be held on March 17 due to the Cricket World Cup and pending Court cases, should be conducted on the same day without being staggered any further, the UNP said yesterday. General Secretary of the UNP Tissa Attanayake told a news conference in Colombo that the Court verdicts were due on May 12 and the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime, which claimed to be invincible, should fearlessly conduct polls for the remaining Councils on the same day. Elections were held to only 234 of the 335 local authorities on March 17.
Undue delays could result in the accepted nominations expiring and candidates having to re-apply causing further postponements. As such the authorities should hold the elections as soon as possible after May 12, he said.
The government by staggering the polls had obtained an unfair advantage during the first leg, which had been marred by violence and violations of electoral law. However, the Election Commissioner had declared it peaceful, free and fair, Attanayake said.
He said that the UNP which had contested on its own on March 17, had increased its vote base by five percent, while the UPFA, which was an alliance, had lost five percent of its support in comparison to the last parliamentary polls.The UPFA had won 54 of the 205 local bodies with majorities of under 2,000 votes, which was a very unusual feature that had led to a great deal of suspicion, Attanayake said.
He denied media reports that the UNP was to remove a National List MP to accommodate a candidate who had lost the last General Election.
The Court of Appeal yesterday postponed to May 12 its judgment on the 19 writ applications filed by the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) challenging the rejection of its nomination papers for the local council elections in the Jaffna and Kilinochchi districts.
Appeal Court President Justice Sathya Hettige postponed judgment earlier fixed for May 5 as the other sitting judge Upali Abeyrathna was indisposed.
The UPFA nomination papers were rejected for the reason that the Tamil translation of the party name was in variance with the one recognized by the Elections Commissioner and as registered with him.
On February 24, the Court had issued an interim order restraining the Elections Commissioner and the Returning Officers from taking any further steps in terms of the Local Authorities Elections Ordinance for the purpose of conducting the elections to 19 local councils in Jaffna and Kilinochchi districts.
These interim orders were to be operative till the final determination of the writ applications filed by the ruling UPFA General Secretary Susil Premajayantha. (Read More)
UNP Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa vehemently condemned the appointment of UNP national organizer with less than 40 members of the 92 member working committee present.
He said that the appointment was made in an unconstitutional manner.
Mr. Premadasa said that a working committee meeting had been called to appoint the national organizer with less than 40 members of the 92 member committee were present.
He stressed that the principal corner stones of the constitution unanimously passed by the members of the party had been violated.
MP Premadasa said those who had pushed for a change in the party constitution had no idea of the meeting and that these party members were now being cornered.
“Both Ranjith Maddumabandara and I, who are not only senior members of the party but also members of the working committee were not told of this meeting,” he said.
“The national organizer along with other key positions in the party was to be appointed before April 12, but in my opinion the appointment of the national organizer was deliberately delayed while all other appointments made so that a dictatorial decision like this could be made,” MP Premadasa said. (Read More)
UNP Colombo District MP Ravi Karunanayake was appointed as the national organiser of the party at a working committee meeting held at ‘Sirikotha,’ the party head quarters, yesterday.
Party sources told Daily Mirror that Mr. Karunanayake had been appointed by consensus at both the Advisory Committee meeting as well as the Working Committee meeting last evening. The advisory committee (which had been appointed to advise the working committee) met last afternoon prior to the meeting of working committee last evening.
UNP General Secretery Tissa Attanayak later briefed the media on the appointment. It was reported that there had been no other contenders -- though Moneragala Distirct MP Ranijth Madduma Bandara’s name had been proposed and seconded for the post at a previous working committee meeting.
Several new appointments to the working committee were also made yesterday. These included national list MP Anoma Gamage, Colombo District MP Mohan Lal Gero, A. H. M. Haleem, Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, Batticaloa District member of the Eastern Provincial Council S. Sasithran, and Edward Gunasekera a former member of parliament.
UNP Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya yesterday said his party would protect the Sri Lankan security forces which ended terrorism in this country.
Mr. Jayasuriya who was speaking at a special ceremony held to mark the 18th death anniversary of late President R. Preamdasa at Hulfsdorf Colombo, said UNP as the party which brought independence to this country would protect all security forces including the jailed former army commander Sarath Fonseka today.
He said UNP was also committed to safeguard democracy in this country as it was done by late President Premadasa. “The best tribute one can pay the late President is through safeguarding his principals.
Mr. Jayasuriya recalled that Mr. Premadasa took over the presidency when the country was in a deep crisis, but he was able to deliver the nation from destruction despite challenges.
Referring to the present situation with the UNP, he said the a party was in a sound position today with some young energetic leaders coming forward together with a couple of seniors pilot it towards victory. With these assets, he said the party could be made a people’s party as was done in the past by late President. UNP co deputy leader and son of the late President Sajith Preamdasa in his address pledged to sacrifice his life just like his father to form a UNP government to get a UNP President elected, form UNP provincial council administrations and also to establish UNP local bodies. (Read More)
The 2011 local government election is the first election under the 18th amendment to the constitution. However it was held without the establishment of the Elections Commission which was proposed by the amendment.
Few weeks after the passing of the 18th amendment, the local authorities elections (amendment) act was presented to parliament and debated but was not implemented. The new amendments were made using the findings of the Dinesh Gunawardane commission on electoral reforms. (Read More)
UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake, MP, says Moneragala District MP Ranjith Maddumabandara’s quest for the post of National Organiser could be challenged by some of his parliamentary colleagues.
Although no one had made written submissions for the post except MP Maddumabandara, some other senior UNPers could come forward shortly, MP Attanayake said. "We’ll do our best to avoid an election for the post. A contest between two members will be detrimental to the party and we’ll do everything possible to fill the vacancy without a contest," he said. (Read More)