UNP MP Kavinda Jayawardena speaking to the Daily News said the Parliamentarians, Cabinet Ministers and party leaders of the UNF had unanimously supported the Prime Minister and asked that he continue as leader and Prime Minister,
“However, we also decided that we needed drastic changes in the management of the party,” he added.
“The President cannot decide who the leader of the UNP is and nor can he decide who the Prime Ministerial candidate for the UNP should be,” Jayawardena further said.
UNP MP Mayantha Dissanayake confirmed that President Maithripala Sirisena during a one-on-one meeting with the Prime Minister on Monday had conveyed the message that the SLFP members in the coalition Government want Prime Minister Wickremesinghe to step down and appoint any other acceptable person from the UNP.
“Premier Wickremesinghe was of the view that a decision in that regard has to be taken collectively by the UNP MPs and the Working Committee. The final decision will be arrived at within the next couple of days,” he commented.
The call to form a UNP government was also reiterated at a meeting held with 16 UNP backbenchers and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe last morning.
“We left the responsibility of making up the numbers in a new government to the leader,” said MP Dissanayake speaking to the Daily News last night.
Jayawardena in the meantime said they had the numbers to form their own government and those in the SLFP who wish to remain behind, can do so and the rest can leave.
In an attempt to resolve the political tensions arisen after the Local Government elections, all Cabinet Ministers, Deputy and State Ministers of the UNP having met with the Prime Minister at Temple Trees last night, together headed off to a meeting with the President, to convey their decision to him.
Amidst the political uncertainties over the continuation of the National Unity Government, the Prime Minister met the UNP Parliamentary group in three back-to-back meetings at 11 am, 3 pm and 5.30 pm at Temple Trees facilitating each and every Parliamentarian to express their views.
“The PM was very attentive and flexible throughout the meeting while patiently giving an ear to the opinions of all backbenchers,” Dissanayake said following the meeting.
He said the UNP backbenchers openly and emphatically told the PM of the need to form a UNP Government and take a lead in the development of the country.
UNP Chairman and Development Strategies and International Trade Minister Malik Samarawickrema, Law and Order Minister Sagala Rathnayake and Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam too joined in the meeting.
Backbenchers Nalin Bandara Jayamaha, Hector Appuhamy, Kavinda Jayawardena, Bandulal Bandarigoda and Thushara Indunil Amarasena too expressed similar sentiments.
Special Committee to resolve issues between SLFP and UNP
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and the UNP Cabinet Ministers who met President Maithripala Sirisena at his official residence at Paget Road last night decided to come to a final decision on the future of the Unity Government at a Cabinet meeting scheduled for today (14).
Sources also revealed that a Special Committee would be appointed to resolve issues between the SLFP and UNP in the Unity Government.
The Committee will comprise Ministers Mangala Samaraweera, Thalatha Atukorale, Kabir Hashim, Akila Viraj Kariyawasam and Sagala Ratnayaka.