By Rose Kenny
UNP leader and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, accompanied on stage by Sajith’s mother and former First Lady Hema Premadasa, proposed Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa as the Presidential candidate of the UNF at the UNP convention held at Sugathadasa Indoor stadium this morning.
Wickremesinghe then asked for a show of hands from all those in support of the proposal and then announced that the proposal is thereby unanimously approved by the convention.
Afterwards UNP General Secretary Akila Viraj Kariyawasam presented five more proposals at the party convention for approval.
Three proposals previously approved by the UNP Working Committee on September 26, 2019 including power devolution, reform of the electoral system and continuing the constitutional reform commenced by the government such as the Executive Presidency were also approved at the special party convention.
A proposal to reaffirm the Working Committee decision on January 24 to appoint Ranil Wickremesinghe to the leadership of the party was also approved at the convention today.
In addition to this a proposal to pay tribute to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya who acted with bravery for the benefit of parliamentary democracy was also approved.
Addressing the convention UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said the UNP has had to face numerous obstacles and challenges during the past four years, but even as a minority the party withstood all these challenges and overcame all obstacles to be where they are today. “We took some time, but eventually we did it without allowing the party to split. Our strength is our unity and united we will triumph and if we divide we are certain to fail. Therefore, I urge all young party leaders not to allow others to create division within the party and always remain united. As long as I am the leader of the party I will do everything in my power to keep the party together.”
In his address at the party convention, UNF presidential nominee Sajith Premadasa vowed to serve the people even at the cost of his life. “I embark on this journey to lead the country not for my own benefit but to crown the heads of all my people. I have no family to provide for, my family are the people of this country and I will serve them with all my effort.,” he pledged.
UNP Chairman Kabir Hashim made the welcome speech and Party General Seceetary Akila Viraj Kariyawasam too spoke at the occasion.