Galle mayoral debacle: UNP to act against errant councillors, SLPP mayor | Sunday Observer

Galle mayoral debacle: UNP to act against errant councillors, SLPP mayor

The United National Party (UNP) has decided to take disciplinary action against six of its members of the Galle Municipal Council who supported Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) council member Priyantha Sahabandu to become Mayor of Galle last week.

Sahabandu was elected mayor in a secret ballot, where the UNP members had voted for him violating the guidelines set by the party hierarchy. The Galle Municipal Council was won by the UNP.

The UNP had previously given guidelines to elected members on establishing power in local Government bodies. “Clear instructions had been given asking them to not reach any agreements with the SLPP,” Home Affairs Minister Vajira Abeywardena told the Sunday Observer yesterday.

The Minister said that an understanding had been reached earlier to appoint a Sinhalese member to the post for the first two years while it would be later handed over to a Muslim member for the remainder of the Council term.

A decision had also been taken to not opt for a secret ballot during the Mayoral appointment process. However, a UNP member itself is said to have requested a secret ballot, violating the consensus reached.

According to the Minister, the party will also take action against the UNP member who was appointed as the Deputy Mayor after extending his support to the SLPP candidate.

Meanwhile, Minister Abeywardena also said that it has now been revealed that the SLPP Mayor is a Field Officer which disqualifies him from holding office as an elected representative under the election laws. “Therefore, the UNP has also decided to take legal action against his appointment” the Minister confirmed.