UNP to decide on Presidential candidate tonight - Kabir | Sunday Observer

UNP to decide on Presidential candidate tonight - Kabir

8 September, 2019

Refuting reports alleging that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has said he would contest as the United National Party’s Presidential candidate and Deputy Leader Minister Sajith Premadasa will contest for the Premier’s position, UNP Chairman Minister Kabir Hashim said Wickremesinghe and Premadasa will meet tonight to make a final decision on who the UNP’s Presidential candidate would be.

 Minister Hashim said the party leader and deputy leader are both willing to work together and make the right decision regarding the future presidency.

“We are a couple of weeks late in making this decision, but this is what a vibrant democratic system is. It gives the party time to debate and discuss,” he added.

About five members of the UNP have nominated their names to represent the party at the upcoming elections. PM Wickremesinghe has called for meetings with them too.

Minister Hashim said it is his belief that the party should not be deprived of a victory and it is seen through ‘scientific data’ who has the best chance of winning from the UNP. He refused to name who the winning candidate is.

The UNP held a closed-door meeting with senior members of the party on Friday (6) evening. Soon after, it was reported that PM Wickremesinghe will contest as the Presidential candidate. Minister Hashim said this was an attempt by certain individuals to create conflict between various factions.

“Knowing his (PM’s) past we know that he will not make a wrong decision. He knows to do the right thing at the right time,” the Minister said.

He said Minister Premadasa is currently taking part in party campaigns. “He is doing this as UNP’s deputy leader. If he does not do that the party would look dead. He has made the party active.”

However, Minister Ajith P Perera contradicted Minister Hashim’s statement saying Minister Premadasa will contest as the Presidential candidate. He said the meeting between Minister Premadasa and the Prime Minister will be on what the latter’s political future would be.

Minister Perera said today’s meeting was rescheduled for Tuesday as the deputy leader is caught up with other work.