The UNP Working Committee, which met yesterday morning, confirmed the recommendations made by the Politburo to the senior posts of the party.
Accordingly, Akila Viraj Kariyawasam will take on the post of General Secretary, Kabir Hashim the post of Chairman, Ruwan Wijewardene as Deputy General Secretary, Dr Harsha de Silva, the post of Treasurer, Navin Dissanayake as National Organizer, Ajith P. Perera as Trade Union Secretary and Harin Fernando as Communications Secretary.
Sajith Premadasa and Ravi Karunanayake, in the meantime, retained their previous posts as Deputy Leader and Assistant Leader respectively.
Soon after the appointments, the Prime Minister’s official twitter account tweeted,
“I congratulate all the new appointees in the UNP leadership team. I look forward to working together to make the United National Party even stronger”.
“Not all positions however were welcome within the party as UNP Senior, Joseph Michael Perera chose to resign his post in the Working Committee over the re-appointment of Karunanayake as Assistant Leader.
Perera, who has been involved in active politics in the UNP for over 55 years, openly opposed Karunanayake’s appointment. MP Ranjan Ramanayake also opposed Karunanayake’s appointment.
“I told them that I did not believe that the ordinary UNPer wanted Ravi Karunanayake to be appointed as Assistant Leader and I told them that I could not accept that. He has damaged the party enough,” Perera said when contacted by the Daily News.
Perera added that he would continue to work on behalf of ordinary UNPers who have suffered much in the recent years.
UNP MP Karunanayake in the meantime dismissed Perera’s objections and stated that the Senior merely wanted an excuse to quit the Working Committee.
Responses to the appointments have been mixed even among those who were appointed. Deputy Minister Harsha de Silva tweeted,“Honor to be Treasurer @officialunp #SriLanka. No family connections to party; only professional n entrepreneur. Equal opportunity,” whilst Deputy Minister Ajith P Perera’s official Facebook page carried the simple status “only disappointment”.