Dispute between two UNP factions widens | Sunday Observer
Following letter to Election Commission chief

Dispute between two UNP factions widens

The dispute between two factions of the United National Party (UNP) has further widened following a letter sent by the UNP General Secretary, Akila Viraj Kariyawasam to the Chairman of the Election Commission yesterday informing the Green party’s decision to contest the upcoming election solo, the Sunday Observer learns.

Amid the continuous failure to determine a symbol for the upcoming General Election under the Jathika Samagi Balavegaya (National Unity Force), the UNP told the Chairman of the Election Commission yesterday that it was ready to contest the election in all districts under the Elephant symbol.

The Jathika Samagi Balavegaya (JSB) headed by former Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa and UNP headed by former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe met several times to resolve issues related to the General Election including the election symbol. However, the talks failed as both parties could not reach an agreement.

JSB General Secretary, former UNP parliamentarian Ranjith Madduma Bandara told the Sunday Observer yesterday that the UNP had forwarded the letter to the Election Commission without any acknowledgement to the JSB.

“It was the Working Committee of the UNP which decided to contest the General Election as the Jathika Samagi Balavegaya. I do not understand the reason as to why the party (UNP) wants to contest the election separately. Notwithstanding their decision, we will continue our election campaign and contest the election as the JSB” he said.

Refuting Madduma Bandara’s claim, former UNP parliamentarian Prof. Ashu Marasinghe said, the UNP is ready to contest under the Elephant symbol, with the support of all factions.

“We want everyone to unite under the Elephant symbol. Therefore, no one should consider this as a crisis within the UNP,” Prof. Marasinghe said.

However, he added that the JSB has not yet finalised its constitution, and stressed that the UNP was not ready to team up with any coalition without a proper constitution.

Asked about the UNP’s Prime Ministerial nominee UNP, Prof.Marasinghe said, “We will decide on the Prime Minister when we are elected. Unlike the Presidential Elections we are not obliged to name the Prime Ministerial candidate at General Elections.” Madduma Bandara said that the JSB will not criticise the UNP in the event both factions contest separately the General Election.Despite several attempts, UNP General Secretary Akila Viraj Kariyawasam was not available for comment.