Roaring win for Ranil
BY SANDUN A. JAYASEKERA AND KELUM BANDARA
Dec 20, 2011
United National Party (UNP) Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe emerged victorious yesterday with a thumping majority in the party’s long drawn leadership tussle by defeating Karu Jayasuriya at a secret ballot at the crucial working committee meeting held at party headquarters Sirikotha.
The working committee members and MPS of the party were eligible to cast their ballots at this secret vote meant for the election of new office bearers to the party.
The much anticipated working committee meeting began around noon with the vote being taken soon afterwards. At the working committee meeting on Sunday it was announced that the party leader would be elected yesterday and this led to enthusiastic UNP supporters assembling around the party headquarters since morning. After the UNP General Secretary announced the results, the contestants including Mr. Wickremesinghe addressed the members and stressed the need to work in unity for the good of the party in the future.
At one point, a member said those who brought crowds to the area should be held responsible for the commotion. Soon afterwards, two prominent members tried to manhandle him.
Since morning, enthusiastic party supporters had gathered outside the Sirikotha compound in their eagerness to know the new leaders of the party. However, soon after it was announced that Mr. Wickremesinghe had won the battle, angry people created a commotion and broke open the gates to enter the compound. They pelted stones at the Sirikotha building damaging several vehicles parked in the compound. Among the vehicles that were severely damaged were those of Mr. Wickremesinghe and General Secretary Tissa Attanayake. In the In an impromptu address to supporters in front of party headquarters Sirikotha after yesterday’s election, UNP deputy leader Sajith Premadasa referred to his new position as something insignificant but added that real leadership came from the party supporters.
“We started the struggle to vest the UNP with the people who wear the sarong and shirt and cloth and blouse. The UNP does not belong to the elite few but the real sons and daughters of the soil of Sri Lanka,” Mr. Premadasa said.
He stressed that the present UNP did not reflect the thinking of the grassroots level UNPER who gives the power to the party. The attack on the Sirikotha was condemned by Mr. Premadasa. melee, a few working committee members including parliamentarian Niroshan Perera were injured after being hit by stones pelted by angry protestors. A UNP MP who wished to remain anonymous said a damage of at least Rs. 2.5 million would have been caused to the Sirikotha building. However, the damage caused to the vehicles was yet to be ascertained.
The protesters fully dismantled the iron fence of Sirikotha that had been erected bordering the Kotte Road.
Police media spokesman Ajith Rohana said no arrests were made and the administrative officer of Sirikotha had lodged a complaint with the Mirihana police over the incident which also included damage to property.
Former co-deputy leader Sajith Premadasa defeated Ravi Karunanayake in the election for the post of Deputy Leader while UNP Ampara district organizer Daya Gamage defeated Dayasiri Jayasekera in the election for the post of national organizer.
Source: Daily Mirror - Sri Lanka