UNP nominates three new names to the national list vacancies amidst opposition

July 2 (IL) Amidst objections by some United National Party (UNP) members, party Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has agreed to the two names proposed by the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) to fill the United National Front’s vacant national list slots, sources said.

SLMC’s Basheer Segu Dawood and S. Nijamudeen have been appointed as the replacements, after I. Kuthoos and Pushpakumara (both SLMCers) who resigned from their national list slots sometime back.

This move comes amidst another surprising move by the UNP leadership to appoint Myown Musthapha as the replacement to Ali Zahir Mowlana who resigned following his involvement in LTTE rebel leader Karuna's escape to Colombo. The decision by the UNP to appoint Musthapha, comes amidst reports that the UNP political steering committee earlier unanimously decided to appoint former MP A.H.M. Azwer to the vacant seat, sources told the Daily Mirror.

Meanwhile, UNP General Secretary Milroy Perera has written to Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake about the party’s decision to appoint Mr. Dawood, Mr. Nijamudeen and Mr. Musthapha to the three vacant national list slots.

Many UNP members were of the view that the SLMC members were very inconsistent when it came to supporting their party and thus the UNP too could suffer due to their unreliability, as the SLMC was supporting the Opposition in Parliament.

These UNP members had cited the crossing over of Hussein Bhaila to the Government and the resignation of I. Kuthoos and Pushpakumara as such instances. They had also noted that the UNP had given the national list slots to the SLMC as part of its electoral agreement, however if the SLMC couldn’t hold on to it, it was not their problem to keep on replacing SLMCers to the UNP’s national list slots, the source added