UNP Working Committee suspends 99 members | Sunday Observer

UNP Working Committee suspends 99 members

The Working Committee of the United National Party (UNP) which met yesterday unanimously decided to confirm the suspension of 99 party members who had handed over nominations from the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) to contest the upcoming General Election.

SJB Leader Sajith Premadasa and other senior members of the UNP are among those whose party membership has been suspended.

The UNP party hierarchy has already called for explanations from 102 party members including nearly 70 former UNP Parliamentarians.

The UNP Working Committee meeting chaired by its leader and former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was held at the party headquarters, Sirikotha on Friday (May 29). During the meeting, the Committee had deliberated on suspending the party membership of those who had submitted nominations from the Samagi Jana Balawegaya for the upcoming General Election.

After the Working Committee meeting, party senior Wajira Abeywardana told the media a decision was taken to suspend the party membership of UNP organisers and former UNP Parliamentarians who had attempted to promote other political parties violating the party Constitution.

Abeywardana said all party positions of those who have joined the SJB will be cancelled by December 31 this year.

Asked whether a group of ex-UNP MPs in the SJB had held discussions to rejoin the UNP, Abeywardana said throughout history such breakaway groups had rejoined the UNP. Therefore, there is no obstacle for anybody to return to the UNP, he said.

A few days ago, UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe had informed 102 UNP members in writing- those who had handed over nominations from the SJB that their party membership will be suspended immediately.

In a statement issued, UNP General Secretary Akila Viraj Kariyawasam said any member who wishes to have his or her name included in the nomination list as a candidate of another political party is mandated in terms of Article 3.4 (C) of the UNP party Constitution, to obtain prior approval from the Working Committee of the UNP. He said the members in question have not complied with Article 3.4(C) of the Constitution, and have not obtained the prior approval of the Working Committee.

UNP General Secretary in his letter has said that several candidates have now expressed their regret for having taken the course of action to contest from other political parties. However, acting in line with Article 3.4 (h) of the party Constitution, letters have been sent to all members who had placed their names on the nomination lists of other political parties calling for their explanations.

The Working Committee of the SJB also convened yesterday at the party’s headquarters, Ethul Kotte under the patronage of SJB Leader Sajith Premadasa.

Former UNP Parliamentarian Kabir Hashim said a group of UNPers who have deals with the Government had compelled the UNP leadership to submit a separate nomination list from the UNP. Therefore, disciplinary action should be taken against those who resorted to it.

He said over 60 percent of the UNP Working Committee members are in the SJB now. Therefore, the UNP Working Committee cannot be convened in such an arbitrary manner. “The refined group of the UNPers is in the SJB today,” he said. 

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