Leadership battle: Sajith seeks consensus

By Anthony David

Sajith Premadasa, the contender for the leadership of the United National Party (UNP) said yesterday that he favoured a consensus decision.

“What is most favoured is consensus but the party as a whole will have to decide,” he told the Sunday Times last night. “If the leadership issues were cleared earlier, it would have been a good opportunity to build up our grassroots level support.”

Mr. Premadasa’s remarks came ahead of tomorrow’s meeting of the main opposition UNP’s Working Committee, where new office bearers are to be picked under a new party constitution.

The purpose of the meeting is to determine whether the tussle for leadership could be settled amicably. The present leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe and Mr. Premadasa are the main contenders. If a consensus cannot be reached, the Working Committee is to determine whether it should go for a secret ballot. Such a move will include the party’s Parliamentary Group. They together form the Electoral College.

Mr. Premadasa’s remarks appear to be a marked shift from the stand he took during meetings for last Thursday’s local government elections. At several rallies, he asserted that he would become the leader of the party. He said he would celebrate the upcoming National New Year as the leader of the UNP.
Mr. Wickremesinghe also has expressed confidence that he has the majority vote in the Electoral College.

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