By Azra Ameen
The United National Party (UNP) Working Committee yesterday helped Ranil Wickremesinghe consolidate his position as the Party Leader, with its decision to amend the party constitution to do away with the annual secret ballot and hold elections once in six years instead.
Addressing a press conference yesterday, UNP General Secretary, Tissa Attanayake said the Working Committee decided that those appointed to the posts of party Chairman, General Secretary and Treasurer will be chosen by the Party Leader.
Any new appointment to the posts of Deputy Leader, Assistant Leader and the National Organizer will have to be done with the consensus of the Working Committee.
He added, if more than one third of the members of the Working Committee are able to nominate an alternative candidate for the posts of Deputy Leader, Assistant Leader and National Organizer, there shall be an election.
He pointed out, the media has carried several reports that former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka is to join the UNP, but there is no truth to this news. “When he was released, we invited him to join hands with the UNP and participate in our campaign against the government. Our request is still open to him, he can join us at any time to help us in our activities against the government,” Attanayake said, adding, even if Fonseka is willing to join the UNP, he has to first apply and the matter will have to be considered at the Working Committee sessions and only then will a decision be taken.
Meanwhile, the UNP Working Committee also forbade all party members from attending any meetings or functions associated with DNA Leader Sarath Fonseka.