No more secret ballots for UNP
Mar 29, 2011

The UNP has decided do away with the clause in its constitution that the party should elect its office bearers, including its leader, through a secret ballot if there is no consensus among the Working Committee members in this regard, party sources said yesterday.

The UNP had amended its constitution to include this clause (8: 1) after it was proposed by the committee appointed to introduce reforms. The proposal followed agitation by a section of the party for what it termed the democratisation of the party.

The party later voted by secret ballot (on December 19, 2011) and Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe was elected as its the leader (with 68 votes), defeating Mr. Karu Jayasekara. Mr. Daya Gamage was elected national organiser of the party with 56 votes, defeating Mr. Dayasiri Jayasekara. Mr. Sajith Premadasa became the deputy leader with 50 votes, defeating Mr. Ravi Karunanayake.

The faction led by Mr. Premadasa, which is agitating for a leadership change, later disputed the results of the secret ballot. However, the party denied the allegations. After the announcement of the results, there was commotion in the area around the party headquarters’ Sirikotha. Members angered by the outcome even damaged the Sirikotha building.

The committee appointed to look into the incident submitted its report to the party’s Working Committee on Tuesday. The committee headed by senior lawyer Srinath Perera recommended that the party do away with the clause that provides for conducting elections by secret ballot annually. Party sources said that the Working Committee had endorsed this report and, therefore, the party would remove this clause. The UNP is to draft a revised constitution with this clause deleted and submit it for approval at the next convention -- which is to be held after the Sirikotha building is repaired.

Meanwhile, Mr. Premadasa had reportedly been critical of the working committee report and compared it to the Channel 4 video. He had said that the report was as one sided as the video. Mr. Premadasa had expressed this opinion at the party’s working committee meeting on Tuesday. According to informed sources, the UNP deputy leader had said that the committee appointed to look into the stoning of Sirikotha had gone beyond its mandate in proposing that the present office bearers continue in office until the nest presidential election and general election are concluded, and that the necessary amendments be made to the party constitution. Mr. Premadasa had asserted that the constitution should remain unchanged, and the office bearers elected annually in accordance with it..

Source: Daily Mirror - Sri Lanka