UNP crisis reaches climax, Wickremasighe to make statement
[TamilNet, Sunday, 12 September 2010, 14:37 GMT]
Ranil Wickremasinghe, the leader of the main opposition United National Party (UNP) is expected to make a statement as his leadership is under challenge from his loyalists in the party even after defection. Political circles speculate he may relinquish his leadership in the party to give way for another leader amid reports carried
in electronic and print media quoting his main rival Sajith Premadasa that he is ready to take over the leadership of the party from Wickremasinghe.
Colombo media quoted Ranil Wickremesinghe as saying from Diyatalawa Saturday on his return to Colombo he is expected to make an important statement.
The UNP won sixty seats in the last general election held in April. Seventeen of them have crossed over to the ruling United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) government.
Currently the UNP has a parliamentary strength of 43. Of them 25 MPs are said to have intimated to the UNP hierarchy that they would sit in the opposition as independents if the leadership crisis in the party is not resolved next week.
Ranil Wickremasinghe has been having the support of only 18 MPs in the party.
The working committee of the UNP is scheduled to meet Tuesday to take a final decision on the leadership crisis. In this context the important statement that is expected to be made at any time by Ranil Wickremasinghe could be about relinquishing the post of opposition leader, political sources speculate.